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Hendrick Medical Center to open newly expanded NICU

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ABILENE, Texas - Hendrick Medical Center expanded their neonatal intensive care unit and it will open this week. These units are for sick and premature babies.

One family who lives in Sweetwater had to stay at the old NICU a few months ago. The Jones family had twin girls just three months ago and they were born six weeks early, so they had to stay at the old NICU for 22 days. Jonathan of Abilene and Shayla Jones of Sweetwater, parents of Madelyn and Mabery said although it was a difficult time for them as first-time parents they were treated phenomenally at the NICU. "They're like a family," Mr. Jones said.

"They really are," Mrs. Jones said, "they are and the new unit itself is very family centered, not that the old one wasn't. I mean one of the first things they told us when we were admitted was don't ever feel like you can't come back here to be with your child." The Jones couple toured the new facility. The new NICU has four rooms, 25 beds, and is 12,000 square feet.

Neonatologist Dr. Richard Deulofeut, the NICU medical director at Hendrick said they wanted to make the new unit just right for families. "You have a family centered situation where babies of course come for critical care and then after they move forward to the rooms, where moms will be able to spend more and more time with the babies as the babies recover," Deulofeut said. Deulofeut said the newly expanded NICU has enough room to keep more babies for a longer time.

Mrs. Jones said they had to spend time away from home in Dallas and Colorado when the twins were born. She said she is glad that she could deliver in Abilene. "To be able to trust their lives and put them in the hands of other people, I felt very blessed to be able to come home," Mrs. Jones said. Doctors at Hendrick said that now some moms will be able to stay up to three months at the new facility.

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