Overlake Medical Center Opens New, Expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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Bellevue, Wash. – Today, Nov. 1, 2012, Overlake Medical Center celebrated the grand opening of its new and expanded, $3.6 million, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a spirited ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. followed by a community open house from 4 to 7 p.m.

The brand new NICU, staffed by specially-trained experts from Seattle Children’s Hospital and only steps away from the Overlake Childbirth Center, allows doctors to treat babies at 26 weeks gestation, down from 28 previously. Built by GLY Construction in Bellevue, it is large enough to care for 18 infants at a time and is designed to keep families as close to their children as possible, with private rooms that are roughly 50 percent larger than those in the former NICU. The previous space, which was 2,898 square feet will be retained as a stabilization area. Combined with the new NICU, which is 5,100 square feet, Overlake Medical Center will now provide nearly 8,000 square feet of infant care.

“At Overlake we are always working to enhance our services and improve healthcare for our community and the beautiful new NICU allows us to do just that, caring for these tiny babies who need us the most,” said Overlake Medical Center President and CEO Craig Hendrickson. “Without the support of our donors and staff we would not be here today opening this great facility. We are excited about the future of healthcare at Overlake and look forward to serving this great community for years to come.”

Each year, more than 4,000 babies are born at Overlake and on average, more than 400 babies are treated in the NICU, a number that is likely to increase due to the expanded, brand new facility. Nationally, significantly less than one percent of babies are born during 26 to 28 weeks gestation and 3.5 percent of births are considered ‘early term,’ or less than 34 weeks gestation. In King County, roughly 10 percent of babies are born at less than 37 weeks, which is considered ‘pre-term.’ Due to a rising number of women giving birth later in life, rising obesity rates and more medically-assisted pregnancies, there has been an increase in high-risk pregnancies and babies who are born seriously premature over the last several years.