Woodland nicu

Dr. Linda Chase, neonatologist and NICU medical director at Woodland Heights Medical Center, stands while Haley Hollingsworth holds baby Avery, the 1,000th baby admitted into the hospital’s NICU.

Woodland Heights Medical Center recently admits its 1,000th baby into Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

“From the very beginning — seven years now — the goal of the Woodland Heights NICU is to provide care locally so these babies don’t have to be transferred out of town for specialized care,” Dr. Linda Chase, neonatologist and NICU medical director.

While no family wants to think about their baby being admitted into the NICU, Deep East Texas is fortunate to have this high level of care available in this area, she said.

The 15-bed NICU is equipped to care for pre-term infants to full-term infants. Babies come to the NICU for various reasons — some are born early and are as small as 1 pound. Others are full-term babies that are born with infection, or have low blood sugar due to the mother’s gestational diabetes.

“While I may not have expected my baby to be admitted to the NICU, I do feel like she is in good hands,” Haley Hollingsworth, the mother of the hospital’s 1,000th NICU baby, Avery, said.

The NICU team at Woodland Heights offers local neonatologist coverage, a 24-hour on-site neonatal nurse practitioner, specially trained and experienced nurses and therapists as well as registered dietitians.

When the NICU at Woodland Heights opened in 2013 it was the only unit providing specialized care for sick newborns within 100 miles. While there are now three other units between Lufkin and Nacogdoches, none provides the extensive care available at Woodland Heights, including exams for eye disease that premature babies are at risk for, as well as maintaining a dedicated Neonatal Transport Team, Chase said.

“Giving patients the choice of where to deliver and where their baby receives care is important and we are proud to offer an experienced, compassionate, quality option for them,” she said. “All of our local obstetricians have privileges at Woodland Heights and are all able to deliver babies here. That is the great thing about the Lufkin medical community.”

“It is a comfort to be so close to home and near my friends and family,” Hollingsworth said. “I am thankful for the Woodland Heights NICU team.”