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Published January 11, 2012, 05:12 PM

Altru Expands Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Altru's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit has expanded. Additional rooms will give critical patients and their families more room and privacy.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Altru's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit has expanded.

Additional rooms will give critical patients and their families more room and privacy.

After two years of planning and nearly one year of construction, the three new rooms will help keep patients and their families closer to home.

Katie Bergner was very concerned when her first baby, 5-month-old Ella, was born a little earlier than expected.

"She was born July 21st and she was five weeks early and my pregnancy was fine the whole time but she wanted out early," Bergner said.

Ella was rushed to Altru's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, which is a nursery with 14 beds. The room doesn't leave a lot of space for privacy.

"When she was in here we were really lucky there were only 5 babies so she was able to get an omni-bed. But I just talked to a nurse and there's 13 babies here right now," Bergner said.

After nearly one year of construction, a ribbon-cutting unveiled three private rooms with brand new omni-beds and equipment.

"This year we've started doing cardiac surgeries as well, so lot's of new things have come to Altru, different ventilators and things so we can take the sicker babies and keep them here closer to home," Altru NICU Patient Care Supervisor Karen Byrne said.

"We have planned this almost 2 years ago. The community helped us and a lot of community leaders have contributed to this," Altru NICU Medical Director Durga Panda said.

Doctors say they are considered a level 3 nursery and have the capability of helping newborns requiring intubation, umbilical lines and ventilators. These new private rooms will help people like Katie, with infants who need care.

"I think the addition is really nice," Bergner said.

"It's really exciting because the three rooms are going to be wonderful for families and parents so they have a little more privacy with their baby," Byrne said.

Nurses say they are hoping that down the road they will have a whole unit with private rooms for families.

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