Dr. Jing Ja Yoon, Director, Neonatology, examining neonatal patient.
Infant resting in incubator.

BronxCare serves one of the highest risk populations in the United States, with a disproportionate share of low birth weight babies born in comparison to the national average. When considering these and the many other challenges it faces, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s accomplishments are clearly remarkable. In fact, its Neonatal mortality rate of 2.06 per 1,000 live births during the past five years is significantly lower than the National average of 4.14.

Success is the best word to describe BronxCare’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: success in providing the highest quality state-of-the-art medical services and success in terms of the many neonatal graduates that come back as young adults to simply say thank you to the staff for saving their lives.

They are the tiniest of babies, many born premature and often beset with multiple medical problems. Thanks to BronxCare’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, these babies are winning their battles for life. Sometimes it is the little victories that make the difference. Other times it is the smallest of patients that create the largest challenges— that is when the neonatal team is called into action. Its 99 percent survival rate in saving babies weighing as little as one pound at birth is among the highest in the nation. The neonatal team consists of: Dr. Jing Ja Yoon, Director, and Attendings, Dr. Mae Hee Kim, Dr. Barbara Russell, Dr. Michael ThompsonDr. Yves Verna, and Dr. Jessica Roberts. Nurses also partner with parents by communicating, educating, supporting and assisting them in navigating the journey with their child.

Currently, there are 40 beds in the NICU, giving the gift of life to more than 600 newborns each year. These medically fragile newborns also receive cutting edge, specialized care from highly qualified neonatal nurses.

Dr. Yves Verna, Attending, Neonatology, and Emerlita Lucinario, RN, checking on progress of newborn.
Dr. Yves Verna, Attending, Neonatology, and Emerlita Lucinario, RN, checking on progress of newborn.
Agnieszka Chren, RN, CCRN, attending to neonatal patient.
Agnieszka Chren, RN, CCRN, attending to neonatal patient.

One of the many inspiring Neonatal success stories involved the case of an infant baby girl weighing less than 1.5 pounds at birth. She suffered from chronic lung disease. For almost six months, neonatal staff members treated her many medical problems and counseled the infant’s mother. Eventually, the baby girl was strong enough to be discharged. Five years later, she returned to the unit with her mother to simply say thank you to the staff. “She was vibrant and full of energy, and it gave us a sense of fulfillment that we had such a positive impact on her life,” stated Dr. Yoon. The late Dr. Eli Seifman, a former BronxCare on board member, and his wife, Dr. Karen Ann Davis, were instrumental in securing philanthropic support from the Deborah Elkins Foundation Trust for neonatal nursing initiatives.

“We have saved thousands of babies throughout the years and are continuously making miracles
happen for them.
There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that, because of our efforts, they can live life to the fullest.”
—Dr. Jing Ja Yoon, Director, Neonatology
Neonatology at Bronx-Lebanon