Kozhikode: With an exclusive birthing facility set up since 2010, Matria Hospital under Dr. Kutty’s Healthcare, offers every feature that provides women a truly pleasant experience during delivery. Dr. Nihaz Naha K (MBBS, MD, Fellowship in Neonatology), Consultant Neonatologist at Matria Hospital, speaks about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit facility there.
An acclaimed neonatologist, Dr. Nihaz Naha explains the comprehensive neonatal care being offered by Matria Hospital
How equipped is the hospital to handle critical care of high-risk newborns?
We have state-of-the-art level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), with 10 ICU beds and equipped with two ventilators of which one is a dedicated neonatal ventilator with high frequency. We also have four Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, adequate multi-para monitors, high end giraffe warmers, latest LED phototherapy units. We do have provision for invasive blood pressure monitoring and for ventilating the smallest babies. Moreover, we have round the clock 24/7 paediatricians’ service in the ICU.
I remember one baby, a late pre-term 36 weeker presenting with severe respiratory distress soon after birth and we had to ventilate. He was improving over next two days but suddenly on the third day, he suffered from severe pulmonary haemorrhage which forced us to change the endotracheal tube every half to one hourly as the tube being clogged with blood. Baby was sinking in all aspects, we had to try almost every possible thing out. We had a very tough time for another 48 hours. But slowly baby started responding to our treatment and we could revive the baby. The baby is now 1.5 years and still comes to visit us and is doing normal.
What are the technological advancements in high-risk newborn care?
The newborn care is advancing a lot. Earlier, the priorities were to save normal babies or babies who have been born with adequate gestational age. Nowadays we don’t give up at all on any pre-term babies older than 25 weeks. In terms of technology, today we have High frequency ventilation, Nitric oxide therapy for babies having pulmonary hypertension. As far as cardiac surgeries on newborns are concerned, unlike the past where the doctor had to wait until the baby satisfied the weight criteria, they now perform cardiac surgeries even on babies who weigh 2 to 2.5 kg. Also, there is therapeutic hypothermia done for babies who are asphyxiated. We can also do dialysis on small babies whenever required. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in newborn is another field which is rapidly developing and advancing.
What is your advise to the parents on critical care of newborns?
One thing I would like to say is that when a baby is under NICU care, the doctors and nursing team would be equally under pressure just as the parents. Hence, it is important for the parents and others to cooperate with the hospital staff to ensure the best results for the baby.
Also, I would like to bring to the notice that it is just a ‘myth’ that a baby put on ventilator will not survive. Technology has advanced so much that it is now possible to help out even the sickest of babies.
Transport of critically-ill patients would always be a challenge. How is Matria Hospital addressing this?
We have a dedicated transport team accompanied by a doctor and paramedical staff. The vehicle is equipped with transport incubator and ventilator. We pick up sick babies from nearby hospitals when in need. Rarely we were required to transport babies to other specialised centres for cardiac-related surgeries.
How challenging is your job?
I chose neonatology because it a specialty where we have to treat newborns and you get to see them improving in front of your eyes. The most important thing that I consider special as a neonatologist is the smile on the baby’s face. It is a challenging job because you have to deal with underweight babies many a times and have to be available round-the-clock. One may have to compromise on one’s personal time but then I get immense joy from what I do.