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October 2020

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Registered nurses and midwives Sonal Verma, Thu Le and Amy Prentice.

Neonatologist Dr Greg Woodhead and mum Anabelle Azzopardi with twins Violet and Ethan.

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Molly and Nathan May with twin sons Hudson and Archer in September, 2019.

Magic moments in Melbourne’s west

The neonatal intensive care unit at Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital – the first NICU in Melbourne’s west – has celebrated its first birthday.

Since its opening in September 2019, the Western Health NICU team has cared for more than 1,400 babies, including 275 who needed respiratory support and more than 70 who born at less than 32 weeks’ gestation.

Western Health’s head of neonatology Clare Collins said the first year had been ‘full of challenges and achievements’.

‘A project like this doesn’t become reality through magic – it takes sweat, determination and hard work and you have all shown that in spades,’ Dr Collins told staff.

‘We have welcomed many new people to our team, all learnt new things and have embraced new ways of working.

‘That, in itself, is a fantastic achievement but to have done all this despite a global pandemic is truly awesome.’

The NICU’s early patients included twins Hudson and Archer, who met Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos at the official opening.

Parents Nathan and Molly May say their boys have been ‘making up for lost time and smashing all their milestones’.

Recent patients have included twins as well – Violet and Ethan Azzopardi.

And the baby boom in Melbourne’s west continues with Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s recording its highest ever monthly total for babies born in August – 579.

‘We are so lucky to have such a wonderful team, filled with compassionate, empathetic and resilient midwives, nurses and lactation consultants,’ said Cara Kennedy, nurse unit manager of one of Joan Kirner’s post-natal wards.