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New NICU Will Be "a Blessing" to London Area

New NICU Will Be "a Blessing" for London Area

February 17, 2023 Posted in: Women's Care  4 minute read time


When Nathan and Aaron Gilpin were born two months early in 1979, they had to be transported to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Lexington, where they stayed for more than a month.

Dane Gilpin was 11 when his twin brothers were born. They weighed just over 3 pounds.

“The part I remember was the burden my parents felt during that time,” Gilpin said. “During the first week, my parents stayed overnight in the waiting room because it was touch and go.”

For the next several weeks, Gilpin said his father worked during the day and his mother called the NICU nurses often to check on his brothers.

“Every day, my dad would come home from work, and they would drive to Lexington to stay as late as possible visiting with my brothers before driving back home that night,” Gilpin recalled.

The experience makes the project to build a Level II NICU at Saint Joseph London even more personal for Gilpin Construction Company. Nathan and Aaron Gilpin are now part of the family business and will oversee construction of the NICU as project manager and site superintendent, respectively, Gilpin said.

“It’s a blessing to have this kind of facility in London,” Gilpin said. “It would have made it easier on families like mine who had to travel to Lexington to get care for sick babies.”

Almost Finished

Work on the NICU began in fall 2022 and is expected to complete this spring.

Soon, Saint Joseph London will be able to offer specialized care for the more than 100 premature newborns born each year to families in Laurel County and the surrounding area. Gilpin Construction Company, based in London, was selected to build the 4,630-square-foot space adjacent to the existing labor and delivery area.

The $1.4 million project includes construction of four critical care bays and two private rooms. The unit will be equipped with advanced technology, such as GE incubators and warmers to help infants who cannot maintain their body temperature on their own, ventilators to help babies breathe with less effort, and GE Carescape monitors to measure the heart rate of neonatal and pediatric patients.

The project was announced in 2020 when the Saint Joseph London Foundation received a nearly $1 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, as well as support from the WHAS Crusade for Children in 2020 and 2021. The Saint Joseph London Foundation also worked with generous donors in the community to ensure the hospital has the best services to provide to its tiniest patients.

“We are thankful for the support from donors across the Laurel County area who are helping to make this project a reality,” said John Yanes, president, Saint Joseph London. “Providing this vital level of care to the residents of Laurel County and surrounding communities is consistent with one of our top priorities to enhance access to care close to home. We are eager to recognize NICU Awareness Month this September with the local families who have been impacted by the community support.”

Humankindness Gala – Save the Date

Join CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations on April 15, 2023, as we come together for the first time as a ministry to celebrate humankindness and health equity at the inaugural Humankindness Gala.

Enjoy an evening of dinner and dancing, with entertainment provided by one of Atlanta’s top bands, City Heat, and a performance by a children’s choir directed by Dr. Everett McCorvey and Dr. Michael Preacely from the University of Kentucky’s College of Fine Arts School of Music. There will be a silent auction benefiting CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations. Shuttles will be provided for guests traveling from Bardstown, Berea, London and Mount Sterling.

CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations also will honor the Employee of the Year, Leader of the Year, Physician of the Year and Advanced Practice Provider of the Year at each CHI Saint Joseph Health facility during an awards presentation.

To purchase tickets, contact Meredith Herald at [email protected]

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2023 print edition of Spirit of Health.

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