Those premature babies? They grow up.
Families whose children were patients in St. Luke’s Health System newborn intensive care units spent Wednesday evening at Boise’s Municipal Park, reuniting with the doctors and nurses who cared for the babies.
It was the 34th year that St. Luke’s has hosted the NICU graduate picnic. The NICU graduates who were among the 910 attendees ranged in age from 2 months to 25 years.
More than 7,800 babies were delivered last year in Idaho at St. Luke’s hospitals. About 15 percent of them spent time in a St. Luke’s NICU, with a survival rate of 98.6 percent.
One baby was Zoey Howard, born at 24 weeks. She weighed less than two pounds. Her eyes were still fused shut, her skin was transparent, and her heart was not fully developed, according to St. Luke’s.
“Zoey came into the world at a hospital with no NICU, no doctor, and no one able to intubate such a tiny baby,” said a St. Luke’s news release. “Instead, Zoey was kept alive and breathing — by hand — for one hour before being transported St. Luke’s Children’s hospital.”
Zoey spent 124 days in the NICU. She turns 3 years old this month.