When a couple learns they’re having a baby, they do their best to get ready for his or her arrival. They discuss financial plans, they get the nursery ready, they figure out daycare or babysitter needs – among other details. But no matter how prepared they may feel, plans can change in the blink of an eye. That’s exactly what happened to Cody and Gwen Wacasey when it was time for their third child, Zachariah, to be born.
The Wacasey’s two other children had both been born at the Truett and Margaret Crim Maternity Center at Hunt Regional Medical Center in Greenville, TX. Because of the happy memories of their first two sons’ births, the Wacasey’s had no hesitations about choosing Hunt Regional again. And it was a good thing they did, because Hunt Regional is home to neonatologist Dr. Asif Khattak – a physician with years of experience treating the smallest and sickest patients.
Little did they know they would soon rely on Dr. Khattak’s expertise in high risk deliveries.
Expert Care at the Level 3 NICU
Immediately after Zachariah was born, he showed signs of respiratory distress. In the past, this would have required his transfer to a special hospital in Dallas, but something new at HRMC made the transfer unnecessary. That “something new” was the Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which opened on February 1, 2013.
Because of the seriousness of Zachariah’s condition when he was born, he may not have survived a transfer to another hospital.
“They put Zachariah on my chest and he was purple, which was disheartening,” said Gwen in Hunt Regional’s Healthbeat magazine. “He was there only two seconds before they rushed him away.”
Zachariah’s father, Cody, stayed with him in the NICU and watched as the medical staff worked diligently to stabilize his newborn son. They managed to bring Zachariah to 100% oxygen, but also diagnosed the baby with pulmonary hypertension. This meant he was unable to properly make the switch from living in his mother’s womb to breathing on his own.
Because of the capabilities and expertise of the Level 3 NICU, however, Zachariah was in the right place at the right time.
“The presence of a Level 3 NICU allows Hunt Regional to have a highly trained resuscitation team present at every high risk delivery,” said Dr. Khattak. “This translates into significantly improved survival without major disability.”
A New Family
Despite this miracle delivery, the fight was not over yet. Dr. Khattak and supporting medical staff worked with the Wacasey’s throughout the rest of Zachariah’s treatment, answering their questions and educating them along the way.
“[The staff] stayed with us and supported us throughout the 13 days in the hospital,” said Gwen. “[They] celebrated with us every milestone Zachariah reached, [and] became part of the family.”
You can read more stories like Cody, Gwen and Zachariah’s by visiting our Patient Stories page.