Newborn hand in parent’s hand

New parents eagerly look forward to bringing their newborn home, so it can be frightening if your baby needs to be admitted to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Babies who need to go to the unit are often admitted within the first 24 hours after birth. Babies may be sent to the NICU for one of the following reasons:

  • They are born prematurely
  • Their delivery has difficulties
  • They show signs of a problem in the first few days of life

Only very young babies (or babies with a condition linked to being born prematurely) are treated in the NICU — they're usually infants who haven't gone home from the hospital yet after being born. How long these infants remain in the unit depends on the severity of their illness. A baby's NICU stay can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding as you watch your child grow and progress day after day. At University of Utah Health Care we employ the latest in medicine and technology and use the healing power of caring and touch to give infants the best care possible.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The birth of a baby is a wonderful yet very complex process. Many physical and emotional changes occur for mother and baby.

A baby must make many physical adjustments to life outside the mother's body. Leaving the uterus means that a baby can no longer depend on the mother's circulation and placenta for important physiologic functions.

Baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Before birth, breathing, eating, elimination of waste, and immunologic protection all came from the mother. When a baby enters the world, many body systems change dramatically from the way they functioned during fetal life:

  • The lungs must breathe air.

  • The cardiac and pulmonary circulation changes.

  • The digestive system must begin to process food and excrete waste.

  • The kidneys must begin working to balance fluids and chemicals in the body and excrete waste.

  • The liver and immunologic systems must begin functioning independently.

Your baby's body systems must work together in a new way. Sometimes, a baby has difficulty making the transition to the world. Being born prematurely, having a difficult delivery, or birth defects can make these changes more challenging. Fortunately for these babies, special newborn care is available.

What is the neonatal intensive care unit?

Newborn babies who need intensive medical attention are often admitted into a special area of the hospital called the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The NICU combines advanced technology and trained health care professionals to provide specialized care for the tiniest patients. NICUs may also have intermediate or continuing care areas for babies who are not as sick but do need specialized nursing care. Some hospitals do not have the personnel or a NICU and babies must be transferred to another hospital.

Some newborn babies will require care in a NICU, and giving birth to a sick or premature baby can be quite unexpected for any parent. Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and equipment in the NICU can be overwhelming. This information is provided to help you understand some of the problems of sick and premature babies. You will also find out about some of the procedures that may be needed for the care of your baby.

Which babies need special care?

Most babies admitted to the NICU are premature (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), have low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds), or have a medical condition that requires special care. In the U.S., nearly half a million babies are born preterm, and many of these babies also have low birth weights. Twins, triplets, and other multiples often are admitted to the NICU, as they tend to be born earlier and smaller than single birth babies. Babies with medical conditions such as heart problems, infections, or birth defects are also cared for in the NICU.

The following are some factors that can place a baby at high risk and increase the chances of being admitted to the NICU. However, each baby must be evaluated individually to determine the need for admission. High-risk factors include the following:

  • Maternal factors:

    • Age younger than 16 or older than 40 years

    • Drug or alcohol exposure

    • Diabetes

    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

    • Bleeding

    • Sexually transmitted diseases

    • Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, or more)

    • Too little or too much amniotic fluid

    • Premature rupture of membranes (also called the amniotic sac or bag of waters)

  • Delivery factors:

    • Fetal distress/birth asphyxia (changes in organ systems due to lack of oxygen)

    • Breech delivery presentation (buttocks delivered first) or other abnormal presentation

    • Meconium (the baby's first stool passed during pregnancy into the amniotic fluid)

    • Nuchal cord (cord around the baby's neck)

    • Forceps or cesarean delivery

  • Baby factors:

    • Birth at gestational age less than 37 weeks or more than 42 weeks

    • Birth weight less than 2,500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces) or over 4,000 grams (8 pounds, 13 ounces)

    • Small for gestational age

    • Medication or resuscitation in the delivery room

    • Birth defects

    • Respiratory distress including rapid breathing, grunting, or apnea (stopping breathing)

    • Infection such as herpes, group B streptococcus, chlamydia

    • Seizures

    • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

    • Need for extra oxygen or monitoring, intravenous (IV) therapy, or medications

    • Need for special treatment or procedures such as a blood transfusion

Who will care for your baby in the NICU?

The following are some of the specially trained health care professionals who will be involved in the care of your baby:

  • Neonatologist. A pediatrician with additional training in the care of sick and premature babies. The neonatologist supervises pediatric fellows and residents, nurse practitioners, and nurses who care for babies in the NICU.

  • Respiratory therapists

  • Occupational therapists

  • Dietitians

  • Lactation consultants

  • Pharmacists

  • Social workers

  • Hospital chaplains

The members of the NICU team work together with parents to develop a plan of care for high-risk newborns. Ask about the NICUs parent support groups and other programs designed to encourage parental involvement.

Marisa R. Adelman, M.D.

Dr. Adelman is a women's health doctor that works as a minimally invasive gynecologic surgery consultant and obstetrician for the institution. Dr. Adelman’s clinical interests include cervical dysplasia, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, symptomatic fibroid uteri, adnexal masses, and chronic pelvic pain. She provi... Read More

Specialties:

Colposcopy, Endometrial Ablation, Gynecology, Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Robotic Surgery, Women's Health

Locations:

Centerville Health Center (801) 693-7900
Madsen Health Center (801) 213-2995

Robert L. Andres, M.D.

Robert L. Andres, MD is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Dr. Andres serves as an attending physician at McKay-Dee Hospital Center in Ogden, Utah, as well as the University of Utah Health Sciences Center . He completed his Maternal-Fetal Medicin... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Women's Health

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Sushila Arya, M.B.B.S.

Dr. Arya works as a general obstetrician and gynecologist for the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics. Dr. Arya’s clinical interests include endometriosis, symptomatic fibroid uteri, PCOS, and menopause. Dr. Arya enjoys reading and spending time with her son. She also enjoys cooking and doing yoga. She is ... Read More

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General

Locations:

Redstone Health Center (435) 658-9262

Zachary S. Bowman, M.D., Ph.D.

Zachary Bowman, MD is a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellow. He is from Lodi, California. He attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, where he received a B.A. in Biology-C... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

D. Ware Branch, M.D.

Dr. Branch is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist who treats high-risk pregnancy patients. He is internationally recognized for his research and focus on special interests within his specialty, including antiphosphilipid syndrome (APS), thrombotic disorders in pregnancy, and recurrent pregnancy loss. He has b... Read More

Specialties:

Genetics/Fetal Diagnosis, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Recurrent Miscarriage

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425
University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Janice L. B. Byrne, M.D.

Janice L.B. Byrne, MD is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. She has been with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division since completing her fellowship at the University of Utah in 1994. Dr. Byrne is Director of the University of Utah/Intermountain He... Read More

Specialties:

Clinical Genetics, Genetics/Fetal Diagnosis, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Obstetrical Ultrasound, Women's Genetic Counseling

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Jeanette R. Chin, M.D.

Jeanette Chin, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine division of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. She is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Rice University in Houston where she earned a B.A. in biochemistry. She receiv... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

South Main Public Health Center (801) 468-3459
University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Erin A. S. Clark, M.D.

Erin Clark, MD has been an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center since she completed her Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at the University of Utah in 2009. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as the subspecialty of Maternal-F... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital (775) 738-5151
University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Mark Dassel, M.D.

Mark W. Dassel, M.D. is an Assistant Professor and women's health provider, with a special interest in Minimally Invasive Gynecology. Dr. Dassel received two B.S. degrees and an M.D. degree from the University of Kentucky. He completed an Obstetrics & Gynecology residency program at the Phoenix Integrated R... Read More

Specialties:

Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Women's Health

Locations:

Madsen Health Center (801) 213-2995
South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-4500
University Hospital (801) 213-2995

Donna S. Dizon-Townson, M.D.

Donna S. Dizon-Townson, MD is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and serves as the Medical Director of Clinical Programs for the Southern Region of Intermountain Healthcare. Dr. Dizon-Townson is a renowned authority on thrombophilic disorders in pregnancy, having published several pioneering pap... Read More

Specialties:

Genetics/Fetal Diagnosis, Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Michael L. Draper, M.D.

Michael L. Draper, MD is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as the subspecialty of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He has been with the University of Utah Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division since 2002. He is currently the Residency Program Dire... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital (775) 738-5151
University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 585-3375

Alexandra Grosvenor Eller, M.D., M.P.H.

Alexandra Grosvenor Eller, MD, MHP is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Eller completed her Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at the University of Utah in 2008. Her areas of interest are ... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

M. Sean Esplin, M.D.

M. Sean Esplin, MD is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He joined the University of Utah Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division in 2000, after completion of his Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at the University of Utah. He is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and the subspecialty ... Read More

Specialties:

Genetics/Fetal Diagnosis, Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Kent W. Farnsworth, M.D.

Kent W. Farnsworth M.D. is an obstetrician and gynecologist in the General Division of the University of Utah Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Farnsworth received his medical degree and completed his residency with the University of Utah in 1975. He joined the University of Utah Obstetrics and Gyne... Read More

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

South Main Public Health Center (385) 468-4000

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Keri L. Gibson, M.D.

Keri Gibson, MD, is a board-certified physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She received her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2005. She is a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa.... Read More

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

Redwood Health Center (801) 213-8841

Specialties:

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner, OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

South Main Public Health Center (801) 468-3690

Joseph W. Henderson, M.D.

Dr. Henderson is a board-eligible physician specializing in Obstertics and Gynecology and a member of the Amercian College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Henderson's clinical interests include pregnancy, stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, colposcopy, and adnexa... Read More

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General

Locations:

Redwood Health Center (801) 213-8841
University Hospital

Cara C. Heuser, M.D.

Cara C. Heuser, MD is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. She is an attending physician at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT, as well as the UUHSC. She completed her Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at the University of Utah in 2011. Dr... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Calla M. Holmgren, M.D.

Calla M. Holmgren, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center where she completed her fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine in 2007. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her special interests include diabetes, disorders of coagulat... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

G. Marc Jackson, M.D., M.B.A.

Marc Jackson, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah. Dr. Jackson graduated from UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas in San Antonio, and completed his fellowship in Mat... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital

Toni V. LaMalfa, C.N.M.

Toni V. LaMalfa, C.N.M., is a certified midwife. She obtained a bachelor of science degree in nursing, and a master’s degree in nurse midwifery from the University of Utah. She is a member of the Utah chapter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. LaMalfa specializes in all aspects of women’s health and prev... Read More

Specialties:

Colposcopy, Contraception and Family Planning, Gynecology, Menopause, OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-4500
University Hospital

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Courtney Maclean, M.D.

Dr. Maclean’s clinical interests include women's health, obstetric care and general gynecology for women of all ages. She is accepting new obstetric patients into our group obstetrical practice and also provides services at the Greenwood University Hospital’s Community Clinic.... Read More

Specialties:

Gynecology, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Women's Health

Locations:

Greenwood Health Center (801) 213-2995
Madsen Health Center (801) 213-2995

Heather D. Major, M.D.

Heather Major, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah, where she completed her fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine in 2010. Dr. Major's research interests include genetic factors which predispose to preterm birth, platelet and immune response in pr... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Tracy A. Manuck, M.D., B.A.

Tracy Manuck, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and board certified in the subspecialty of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. She completed her Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship ... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Melanie Hope Oddou, WHNP, M.S.N., APRN

Melanie Hope Oddou, WHNP, MSN is a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at the University of Utah. She received her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Brigham Young University and practiced in high-risk obstetrics and OB emergency for 4 years before receiving her Master’s degree from the University of Utah and becoming a b... Read More

Specialties:

Gynecology, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner

Locations:

South Main Public Health Center (385) 468-4000
University Hospital (801) 213-2995

Rita A. Paegle, D.N.P., M.S.N., C.N.M.

Rita Paegle, DNP, MSN, CNM, is a Certified Nurse Midwife at the University of Utah. She received her degree from the University of Utah. Her areas of clinical interest and expertise include international health care, policy, high risk obstetrics, health prevention and promotion, and OB triage. She is also fluen... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Midwifery Services

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Gordon Park, M.D.

Dr. Park was born in Salt Lake City and grew up on a farm in Murray. He graduated from Granite High School. He went to college at the University of Utah and College of Medicine at the University of Utah. He specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology, completing his residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in D... Read More

Specialties:

Gynecology, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Women's Health

Locations:

Redwood Health Center (801) 213-8841
University Hospital
Westridge Health Center (801) 213-8843

Jessica H. Pittman, M.D.

Dr. Pittman is a women's health provider and obstetrician gynecologist in the general obstetrics and gynecology division. Dr. Pittman’s clinical interests include general gynecology for women of all ages, and is accepting new obstetrical patients. She is accepting new patients at the Madsen Health Center for h... Read More

Specialties:

Adolescent Gynecology, OB/Gyn, General, Pediatric Gynecology, Women's Health

Locations:

Centerville Health Center (801) 213-2995
Madsen Health Center (801) 213-2995
University Hospital (801) 213-2995

T. Flint Porter, M.D.

T. Flint Porter, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and Assistant Director of the Fellowship Training Program in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He joined the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division in 1997 after completing his fellowship at the Univ... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Brandon L. Reynolds, D.O.

Brandon L. Reynolds, D.O., is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist. He received his doctorate degree from Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2000. He is a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Reynolds’s professional interes... Read More

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center (801) 213-4500
University Hospital

Douglas S. Richards, M.D.

Douglas Richards, MD is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. He is Associate Residency Program Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He completed a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of North Carolina in 1987. He is boa... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Stephanie T. Romero, M.D.

Stephanie Romero, MD is a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. She is originally from Miami, Florida. She attended the University of Miami where she earned a B.S. in Biology and Secondary Education, and taught in a high school for tw... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Nancy C. Rose, M.D.

Nancy C. Rose, MD is board certified in Clinical Genetics, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. She completed a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. A Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she is also the Director of Reproductive Genet... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Obstetrical Ultrasound, Radiology

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Specialties:

Adolescent Gynecology, Colposcopy, Endometrial Ablation, Gynecological Surgery, Gynecology, Menopause, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Pediatric Gynecology

Locations:

Madsen Health Center (801) 213-4133

Pamela Royer, M.D.

Dr. Royer works as an obstetrician and gynecologist for the institution. Dr. Royer's clinical interests include adolescent medicine and contraception. Dr. Royer is available for gynecologic consultations and new obstetrical patients. Dr. Royer's research interests include: refugee and global women's health an... Read More

Specialties:

Adolescent Gynecology, Contraception and Family Planning, OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 213-2995

Howard T. Sharp, M.D.

Howard T. Sharp, M.D. is an obstetrician and gynecologist at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Dr. Sharp provides women's health and has a special interest is in the treatment of chronic pelvic pain, and is the head of the Pelvic Pain Clinic located in the Women’s Pelvic Care Center at UUHSC. His ... Read More

Specialties:

Colposcopy, Endometrial Ablation, Gynecological Surgery, Gynecology, Menopause, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Pelvic Pain, Robotic Surgery, Women's Health

Locations:

Madsen Health Center (801) 213-2995
University Hospital (801) 213-2995

Robert M. Silver, M.D.

Robert M. Silver, MD is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center who joined the University of Utah Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division after completing his fellowship there in 1994. He is serving as the Chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and as Co-Dire... Read More

Specialties:

Genetics/Fetal Diagnosis, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Recurrent Miscarriage

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Marilee Simons, M.D.

Marilee Simons, M.D., is a board eligible obstetrics and gynecology physician. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and obtained her medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She then completed residency training in obstetrics and... Read More

Specialties:

Gynecology, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Women's Health

Locations:

Greenwood Health Center (801) 213-9400

Amy E. Sullivan, M.D.

Amy E. Sullivan, MD has been an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UUHSC since completing her Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship there in 2003. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Her interests include multiple gestations and maternal cardiac d... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

Madsen Health Center (801) 581-8425
South Main Public Health Center (801) 581-8425
University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Trece B. Swanson, C.N.M., D.N.P., Ph.D.

Trece Swanson, DNP, CNM is a Certified Nurse Midwife at the University of Utah. She received both a Master of Science (MS) degree and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from the University of Utah. She is a board certified nurse-midwife, and a member of the Utah Chapter of the American College of Nur... Read More

Specialties:

Gynecology, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Midwifery Services, Obstetrics

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center
University Hospital (801) 581-8425
University Neighborhood Partners - Hartland Clinic (801) 581-4014

Shannon L. Tilly, M.D.

Shannon Tilly, M.D., is physician practicing obstetrics and gynecology. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington--where she grew-up. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 2002 and completed her residen... Read More

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

Redwood Health Center (801) 213-8841
University Hospital

Specialties:

Contraception and Family Planning, OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 213-2995

Walter Townson, M.D.

Walter Townson, MD, is a board-certified physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, and his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern. Dr. Townson is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and curr... Read More

Specialties:

OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

Greenwood Health Center (801) 213-8840
University Hospital

Jennifer J. Trauscht-Van Horn, M.D.

Dr. Trauscht- Van Horn is a women's health provider in the University of Utah Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is the Clinical Director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Women’s Health and Breast Care Clinic. She also serves as the Medical Director for Planned Parenthood of Utah and is the Clinical Sup... Read More

Specialties:

Colposcopy, Contraception and Family Planning, Gynecological Surgery, Infectious Diseases, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Women's Health

Locations:

Madsen Health Center (801) 213-2995
University Hospital (801) 213-2995

David Turok, M.D., M.P.H.

David Turok, M.D., is an Associate Professor in the University of Utah Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family Practice. His areas of clinical interest and expertise include all aspects of women's healthcare, particularly family planning.... Read More

Specialties:

Contraception and Family Planning, Family Medicine, OB/Gyn, General, Women's Health

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-6170

Sandra E. Whitney, C.N.M.

Sandra Whitney, CNM is a Certified Nurse Midwife at the University of Utah. She received her degree from the University of Utah. Her areas of clinical interest and expertise include all aspects of women's healthcare, particularly high-risk pregnancies. ... Read More

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Midwifery Services, Nurse-midwifery

Locations:

University Hospital (801) 581-8425

Stephanie Wilder, M.D.

Dr. Wilder is a women's health provider and works in the General Division’s clinical and research programs. She has expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology and is available for gynecologic consultations and new obstetrical patients. Dr. Wilder’s clinical interests include obstetrical care, abnormal uter... Read More

Specialties:

Colposcopy, Endometrial Ablation, Gynecological Surgery, Gynecology, Menopause, OB/Gyn, General, Obstetrics, Women's Health

Locations:

Redstone Health Center (435) 658-9262
University Hospital (801) 213-2995

Specialties:

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

University Hospital 50 N Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
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A Team of Doctors Helps a Young Family Defy Odds

Wentz Family

It was the day they had waited for—an ultrasound was going to reveal whether their baby would come home in a pink or blue blanket. But after learning they would be the parents of baby boy, Frank and Julia Wentz were told he had multiple heart tumors. “It was our worst fear becoming a reality,” says Julia.

A follow-up fetal echocardiogram confirmed he had rhabdomyomas, or non-cancerous tumors that consumed nearly the entire left ventricle on his heart. “The doctor said the tumors were the largest he had seen in more than 20 years.”

Some doctors suggested a heart transplant was the best option, others said a transplant was too risky. But after further review in a care conference that included a cardiologist, heart transplant team, a genetics counselor, and Dr. Janice Byrne—a University Hospital high-risk pregnancy specialist who cared for Julia during her pregnancy—they determined the baby had a rare genetic disease that would not require surgery. The U physicians diagnosed the unborn child with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).

TSC is a devastating genetic disorder affecting more than 1 million people worldwide, including 50,000 in the United States. Generally diagnosed during childhood, TSC causes benign tumors to form throughout the body, including in the brain, eyes, skin, heart, kidneys and other vital organs. Although relatively unknown, it is the primary genetic cause of epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder.

Once their son, whom they named Gabriel, was born, he was immediately admitted into the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at University Hospital. Additional MRI’s revealed Gabriel also had tumors in his brain, which would cause infantile seizures.

Immediately, the little boy with the full-head of black hair won the hearts of the doctors and nurses at the hospital. “It was amazing to see how much they genuinely cared about Gabriel,” Frank says, “like he was their own.” Doctors became familiar with Julia and Frank, too. Nurses would stop to chat with the couple in the hallways, concerned about their welfare as much as Gabriel’s. “It was simple questions like ‘how are you doing?’ that made the difference,” says Julia.

Gabriel’s doctors worked together to prescribe the most effective medicines to treat his tumors and seizures. “We didn’t want our baby to spend another night away from home,” says Julia. “So his doctors and nurses made sure he was out of the NICU and home in time for Christmas.”

Doctors initially gave their baby four months to live, but with exceptional care and attention, Gabriel is defying odds. “Doctors call him their miracle baby,” she says.

Now, just a few months shy of celebrating his second birthday, Gabriel has been seizure free for more than a year and doctors at University Hospital expect him to thrive as he continues to live with TSC. The Wentz family maintains an active relationship with University doctors, engaging in new treatment options that fit Gabriel’s prognosis.

Through it all, Julia and Frank say they’ve felt the support of the caregivers at University Hospital. “They made sure we were well informed and that we never felt alone,” Julia says. “It’s a blessing to know we have a family of doctors we can trust.”