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NICU coming to obstetrics unit at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton
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Michael Lee, an electrician's apprentice with E.C. Electric, and James Powell, a drywall finisher with Knight Construction, work in what will be the obstetrics unit at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton. Construction on the wing began in May, just one month after the hospital's opening. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton has been approved for a level 2 neonatal intensive care unit.

The service gives families “added comfort and peace of mind” if there are complications when their baby is delivered, according to Megan Cargile, manager of the Braselton labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum unit, which is scheduled to open in October.

Dr. Holt Harrison, an OB-GYN with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group who will be delivering babies in Braselton, said having a level 2 NICU will allow immediate care and resuscitation to be provided.

Harrison said the NICU will “make sure patients feel like they’re in a safe environment where their needs are going to be met and the baby’s needs are going to be met.”

The hospital received approval for the NICU on Friday, a week ahead of the April 1 one-year anniversary of the opening of the hospital’s Braselton campus.

The hospital plans to open the four-bed NICU along with its 10-room obstetrics unit in October.

Included in the NICU will be four spacious private rooms, four transitional care bays, an infant feeding prep room and an infant procedure room.

Cargile said it will be a beautiful facility stocked with the latest technology and plenty of room.

“There’s lots of space for family to come,” Cargile said.

Experienced NICU registered nurses and respiratory therapists covered by The Longstreet Clinic Neonatology Service, the same ones who work at the hospital’s Gainesville NICU, will work at the Braselton NICU.

Harrison said “patients are pretty savvy customers” and not having a NICU with so many other options close by would have put the Braselton hospital at a “competitive disadvantage.”

Cargile said in addition to providing the best care for mothers and their babies, having the NICU in Braselton will also relieve pressure on the hospital’s Gainesville campus.

Harrison said having the NICU along with the obstetrics unit makes sense.

“It helps round out our ability to provide a complete continuum of care to mother and baby,” Harrison said.

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