DCMH and Crozer NICUs Honored by March of Dimes
The Maternal/Child Health Units at Delaware County Memorial Hospital and Crozer-Chester Medical Center were recently honored by the March of Dimes in recognition of the physicians and staff who fight to save babies’ lives every day. The recognition award was part of the organization’s annual “Day of Gratitude” in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, which is observed annually in November.
Anthony Stover, community director for the March of Dimes’ Pennsylvania Chapter, Southeast Division, presented the award to nurses, physicians and nursing administration staff at each hospital. At DCMH, a March of Dimes host family, Gary and Tania Rickards, attended with their daughter, Gabrielle, who was cared for by DCMH physicians and nurses. Crozer’s award was presented by Stover and Kelly Jennings, who lost her infant son at birth six years ago.
Present at Crozer’s March of Dimes “Day of Gratitude” event were
(left to right) Kelly Jennings; Anthony Stover, community director for the
March of Dimes; Linda McGuire, R.N., Maternal/Child Health nurse at
Crozer; Cynthia Dembofsky, M.D., chief of Neonatology for
Crozer-Keystone Health System; MT Volkman, nurse director of the
Maternal/Child Health Unit at Crozer; and Kimberly Jennings.
“For 75 years, the March of Dimes’ mission has been to improve the health of babies,” Stover says. “We are grateful to DCMH and Crozer for partnering with us in this mission. The NICU nurses and physicians play a huge role in the lives of these tiny miracles.”
In the seventh month of her pregnancy, Tania McCloud-Rickards, of Morton, knew something was wrong. Rickards wasn’t feeling well, so she went to Delaware County Memorial Hospital where her OB/GYN, Elizabeth Louka, M.D., is on staff. Clinicians at the hospital discovered that Rickards’ baby, daughter Gabrielle, kept experiencing drops in her heart rate—it even stopped a couple of times—so they rushed Rickards to the Operating Room for an emergency C-section. Gabrielle, who had had the umbilical cord wrapped around several parts of her body, was born on August 17 at 2 pounds, 2 ounces. She was due Oct. 15.
Anthony Stover, community director for the March of Dimes
(center right), along with Gary Rickards, Tania McCloud-Rickards
and their daughter Gabrielle, left, present an award to the staff
of the DCMH Maternal/Child Health Unit as part of the
March of Dimes’ annual “Day of Gratitude.”
“Gabrielle was taken right to DCMH’s NICU,” Rickards says. She and her husband, Gary, spent the next seven weeks waiting for their daughter to come home. As painful as that was, they knew that Gabrielle was where she needed to be. “It was hard leaving her,” Tania Rickards says, “but we knew she was in the best of hands.” Today, Gabrielle is a beautiful, healthy three-year-old little girl who likes to play dress up and give hugs.
Gabrielle had plenty of hugs for the NICU staff when she visited DCMH with the March of Dimes. The biggest hug was reserved for Susan D’Aversa, R.N., Gabrielle’s nurse. “This is what makes what I do so worthwhile and personally fulfilling,” D’Aversa says.
Six years ago, Kelly Jennings gave birth to a boy at 24 weeks gestation. Sadly, her son passed away from complications 11 days later. During the most difficult time of her life, Jennings was comforted by the staff at Crozer as well as the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes provided resources that helped me to know and understand what lay ahead after my son’s birth,” she says. “It was important for me to be aware, and I am proud to give back in any way I can.” Jennings also participates in support groups to help other women who have experienced prematurity and the loss of a child.
Cynthia Dembofsky, M.D., chief of Neonatology for Crozer-Keystone Health System, graciously accepted the award from Kelly Jennings. “We are honored that both of our NICUs at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Delaware County Memorial Hospital have been recognized with the March of Dimes Day of Gratitude Award during Prematurity Awareness Month. This award reflects the consistent dedication and teamwork I am proud our staff shows every day. The March of Dimes has been a consistent source of support for our NICUs and our families before, during and after their NICU experience. We look forward to continued collaboration with the March of Dimes to optimize the well-being of all our infants and their families.
The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.