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Published on April 23, 2014

Former NICU Dad: "Thank You For Exceptional Care"

Russ AndersonBegin with the end in mind. At least, that’s what all the business gurus say. But when your baby is born prematurely, the anxiety of what the end might hold can be overwhelming.

Russ Anderson was reminded of the angst he experienced 18 years ago. As he prepared snapshots for his daughter’s upcoming high school graduation party, he lingered on a picture of his newborn in the Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with wires, tubes, tapes and devices monitoring her fight through severe meconium aspiration at birth. Meconium Aspiration Syndrome is when a newborn inhales the fluid in which the baby floats inside the amniotic sac. 

Anderson Family in NICU

“It was a tough, tough time for me,” Anderson recalls. “The one thing that I remember to this day, during that very trying time was one of the nurses pointing to a picture of a child that was about 12, who had the same thing and survived. It may not have been true, but it gave me hope when I desperately needed it.”

Anderson’s wife did meticulous research and insisted on delivering their baby at Women’s Hospital because of the NICU, just in case it was needed. 

Susan Jones, RN, Assistant Director, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, was the bedside nurse at the time. “No one has a crystal ball,” says Jones. “You don’t know what the future holds, but you know you can get through today. And then you can get through tomorrow. Part of what our NICU parents need is encouragement to keep moving forward.”

Lindsay AndersonAnderson reminisces about the quality care and “so many wonderful nurses in that unit.” “First, I wanted to again thank everyone for everything they did. Secondly, I'd like to pay it forward, so to speak. , I'd love to give the next person who goes through what we did a ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture so they can have what I had at that time – hope.”

Anderson’s daughter, Lindsay (pictured right), will attend the University of North Florida in the fall, and plans to major in communications and public relations.