|Neonatal Intensive Care Unit|
The Cotey TwinsJennifer Cotey was enjoying an easy pregnancy with her twin boys until her water broke at 28 weeks. When efforts to stop her contractions failed, Ethan and Jacob entered the world 12 weeks early. The tiny, frail twins were rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Tacoma General Hospital.
For the next 10 weeks, the Cotey twins faced one medical hurdle after another. First, Ethan was diagnosed with a heart defect, which doctors were able to correct with medication. Then one of Ethan’s lungs collapsed, and he was put on a special oscillating ventilator to give his lungs the chance to rest and heal.
Three weeks after Jacob was born, a nurse noticed a red streak on his body—a sign that his underdeveloped intestines had allowed toxins to enter his bloodstream. “They got right on it with strong medications and turned it right around,” Jennifer says.
The NICU staff encouraged Jennifer and her husband to spend as much time with the babies as possible, noting that Ethan and Jacob’s vitals improved whenever family members were present. The compassionate care provided by the NICU staff extended to the Coteys’ older daughter. “The nurses got really attached to her,” says Jennifer.
Now back at home, Ethan and Jacob are growing stronger every day. They recently had a checkup at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center. Jennifer happily reports that the boys “came through with flying colors.”
One out of eight babies born at Tacoma General Hospital arrives prematurely, often without any advance warning. Chase Xitco was one such infant. Born November 28, 2004—three and a half months before his due date—he was given a 60 percent chance of survival.
Thanks to Tacoma General’s highly regarded neonatal intensive care unit, Chase survived—and thrived, leaving the NICU 100 days later to join his parents, Luke and Alisa Xitco, and three-year-old brother, Lucas, at home.
Looking at this lively tow-headed toddler today, it’s easy to forget his early struggle for survival. But Luke and Alisa Xitco remember well and continue to praise the entire NICU facility and staff. “The care that Chase received there was amazing,” says Luke. Now a board member for the MultiCare Health Foundation. “The NICU did so much for my family,” says Luke. “I wanted to give back.”