UNC Hospitals is the consortium of hospitals associated with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The main campus includes the North Carolina Memorial Hospital, North Carolina Children’s Hospital, North Carolina Cancer Hospital, North Carolina Women’s Hospital and North Carolina Neuropsychiatric Hospital. Attending staff are all members of the School of Medicine’s teaching faculty.
UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health
The Center for Maternal and Infant Health is dedicated to improving the health status of North Carolina’s women and infants through clinical services, outreach, education, and research. The Center coordinates treatments for a wide variety of health problems for mother and infant, including infants with birth defects like spina bifida, cleft palate and heart defects; infants with high-risk medical conditions; and pregnant women with fetal anomalies.
The Center offers individualized, comprehensive maternal and infant health services to fulfill each patient’s needs. This includes a care coordinator for each patient and team conferences to discuss medical findings, develop a treatment plan and provide a prognosis. The team includes sub-specialists from a wide range of disciplines in maternal-fetal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, nursing, social work and pastoral care. The UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health brings together all of their expertise and focuses it on each patient’s special medical needs.
Approximately 3300 babies are delivered each year at the North Carolina Women’s Hospital on the UNC medical campus. These represent an extraordinarily high-risk population because a large proportion of mothers are referred with obstetrical complications. Historically, about one-fifth of these infants have low birth weight, and one-fifth are admitted to the Newborn Critical Care Center. The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division is well known for diagnostic fetal ultrasound and invasive fetal interventional therapy. Delivery room facilities are located adjacent to the Newborn Critical Care Center.
Newborn Critical Care Center
The Newborn Critical Care Center has a capacity of 58 beds of which up to 48 are designed for ventilated or critically ill infants. Approximately 75 infants are admitted to the NCCC per month. About 70 percent of these are born in UNC Hospitals. The remainder are referred from over 50 counties in North Carolina.
Approximately 30 percent of admitted infants weigh less than 1500 grams and about 15 percent weigh less than 1000 grams. About 10 percent are 25 weeks gestational age or less. Our clinicians encounter a broad spectrum of other neonatal problems, including 40 infants per year with congenital heart disease and approximately 50 infants per year requiring major surgical procedures. Preoperative care of cardiac surgery patients and pre- and post-operative care of other surgical patients is the primary responsibility of the neonatal staff with appropriate consultation by the surgical staff.
Full-term, normal birth weight infants are admitted to the Newborn Nursery. The capacity of this unit is 25 with average census being 10 to 12. Responsibility for patient care and teaching in this unit is under the Division of Community Pediatrics. Attending responsibility is rotated among a group of nine certified pediatricians, all of whom are actively involved in primary care of pediatric patients and in teaching.
Infant Transport Team
A hospital-based infant transport team has been in operation at UNC since 1975 and is part of Carolina Air Care, the UNC Hospitals transport service. The transport team has 15 members with over 100 years of combined service. Every infant transport team includes a pediatric respiratory therapist and a neonatal nurse clinician.
At present, our infant transport team transports about 95 percent of high-risk infants referred to N.C. Children’s Hospital. The team travels in one of two aeromedical helicopters stationed at UNC Hospitals or via a transport ambulance van. An active back-transport program returns infants to community hospitals.
Special Infant Care Clinic
Selected high-risk infants return to the Special Infant Care Clinic. Emphasis is placed on developmental evaluation and intervention programs for infants with developmental delays or those at risk for delays. The clinic team includes physicians, nursing staff, social workers, physical therapists, a speech pathologist and a nutritionist. Other medical specialties are available for consultation.
Children are generally followed for a period of two years in coordination with the infant’s local physician or Public Health Department. Long-term follow-up for those with handicaps is arranged with appropriate medical specialists or developmental intervention groups.
Pediatric subspecialty support is available in the following areas:
- Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
- Child Development
- Developmental Psychology
- Immunology and Rheumatology
- Infectious Diseases
- Metabolic Diseases
- Pastoral Care
- Pediatric Surgery
- Pediatric ENT Surgery
- Physical Therapy
- Plastic Surgery
- Rehabilitation/Birth Defects
- Respiratory Therapy
- Social Work