Families celebrate premature babies’ health with doctors and nurses in Salem

Caregivers at North Shore Medical Center were reunited with some of their tiniest patients Sunday, as families who had premature babies joined staff members to celebrate their children’s health.

“They were a key part of bringing him into the world, so to come back and see them, see everybody, it’s really great,” said mom Jenna Deiulis.

Nurse Sue Nevins has been organizing the annual event for more than 40 years. She works at the Special Care Nursery, which is designed to help nurses and doctors take care of the babies’ individual needs and to teach families how to care for their babies once they get home.

“We are affiliated with the neonatal ICU in Boston at MGH, so we’re happy to provide the service to the families here in the community that allows them to have continuity of care closer to home,” said Chief of Neonatal Medicine Dr. Katheryn Nathe.

“They made it a lot easier when we went home, it kind of made us a little bit more confident in going home,” said dad Will Deiulis. “While we were here, they taught us a lot of things that we didn’t think we needed to know.”

The close care leads to strong connections between staff and patients, workers said.

“We bond with them because … they’re here for a long time, and a lot of us work a lot and we end up taking care of the same patients while they’re here and they bond with us and we bond with them,” said nurse Lisa Young.

“What’s neat is the parents will come back and meet each other again,” Nevins said. “They see us, they get a positive, you know, after very difficult times for some of them, with sick babies or very early babies. Now they get to share the joy of a good growing baby.”

And this year’s celebration had an additional significance.

“Today is World Prematurity Day,” Nevins said. “I didn’t plan it that way, but it’s kind of a nice day to have a reunion on.”

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