Tiniest Patients Reunite with NICU Doctors and Nurses (VIDEO)

(VIDEO: Families whose newborns were hospitalized in South Miami Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunited with the doctors and nurses to celebrate life and health.)

More than 300 families came together with the doctors and nurses who cared for their premature and at-risk newborns at South Miami Hospital’s annual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion.

Some of the babies, now healthy, growing toddlers and young children, weighed only 1-2 pounds when they were born. Several sets of twins, one set of triplets and even quadruplets came back with their parents to celebrate their life and health.

“To see them come back is an amazing treat for us,” said Jorge Perez, M.D., medical director of the South Miami Hospital Center for Women & Infants and its NICUs. “For some, we were the only family they had during the whole endeavor.”

Last year, more than 1,000 fragile babies were nursed to health in South Miami Hospital’s NICUs. Some of them are hospitalized from three to six months before being strong enough to go home.

One former NICU patient, Indy, age 5, and her parents traveled to Miami all the way from Holland for the special event. Known as “baby Indy”, she weighed just 1.9 pounds when born at 25 weeks in 2011. Mother Ilja was vacationing in Curacao when she went into premature labor at 23 weeks of pregnancy and had to be airlifted to Miami.

“Indy spent about five months here in the NICU where she was so well cared for,” Indy’s mother Ilja Werner explained. While Indy’s twin brother did not survive the early labor, he guards Indy from heaven, the family says.

“She was so small we didn’t know if she was alive,” said Ibo Metz, one of Indy’s fathers. “One day Indy will know how special she [and the hospital] are.”

The Baptist Health South Florida News Team talked to families and caregivers at the event. Watch the video now.

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