On September 3rd, 1991, our daughter, Nicole, was born with a severe congenital heart birth defect, (hypo-plastic left heart), that put her in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Our story is, unfortunately, not uncommon as approximately 500 million of deliveries require some level of intensive care in the United States. On September 5, 1991, Nicole passed away.
Despite having to come to terms with the death of our daughter, we were blessed with three days that would not have been possible without the expert care provided. The hospital had multiple surgical specialists, therapists, nurses and other medical workers on-hand in order to ensure that every infant in the NICU received the best care. Not only were we impressed with the extensive care provided but also by the passion with which the medical staff conducted themselves.
In meeting with staff, we found out the financial hardships for these parents can be unbearable as the expenses of taking a sick baby home is staggering. The medical cost associated with having a child in the NICU can be approximately 9.5 times higher than the regular cost of a birth. This rate doesn’t include the extended medical care that can be required after an infant is discharge from the NICU.
After Nicole passed away, we were impelled do something to give back to the medical staff and to help other families going through this ordeal. This is the worst time in one’s life; we felt hopeless and lost. Our goal is to reach out to those families in the community that pass through the NICU in order to help alleviate some of the difficulties of having an infant in the NICU.
It is in the memory of Nicole and in honor of the NICU staff that we have had the dream of starting the Angel’s Above Foundation.