The number 529 will always have a special meaning for Olivia and her family. Because today, 529 days after her baby, Ezra was born, he is finally headed home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for the very first time. All because of a highly skilled medical support team comprised of doctors, nurses, therapists and others.
“I can never say enough words to thank them for everything they did for Ezra,” says Olivia, as her voice cracked with emotion. “I’m looking forward to doing things with my baby that we couldn’t do when he was in the hospital.
Born on Oct. 23, 2020, at only 23 weeks gestation, the edge of viability, Ezra weighed 1 pound, 0.6 ounces at birth. Ezra needed expert care from an experienced team, so after three months at a South Florida hospital, he was transferred by LifeLine ambulance to the NICU at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. The NICU carries a Level IV rating, the highest given by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the team has deep experience with very low and extremely low birth weight babies. The neonatology team is ranked #45 nationally in 2021-2022 by U.S. News & World Report.
“I think none of his success would have been possible without you,” says Joana Machry, M.D., one of Ezra’s neonatologists, paying tribute to Olivia. “You were here every single day to love and support him.”
Danilo Escoto, M.D., another member of the NICU team, also had high praises for Olivia: “You truly were an advocate for Ezra. Not too many families do what you did. And you should be commended for that.”
“Ezra’s medical journey took a group effort to get him ready for this day,” Escoto says. “We are proud of how we were able to work together as a team for this very positive outcome."
Visit HopkinsAllChildrens.org/stories to learn more about how the NICU team helped Ezra overcome challenges.