Thrive by IU Health

January 24, 2024

Newborn beats RSV with help from NICU angels

IU Health Arnett Hospital

Newborn beats RSV with help from NICU angels

Madison's journey began unexpectedly as a newborn admitted to Arnett Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to contracting RSV. Her stay in the NICU lasted approximately six days, during which several dedicated Arnett team members provided exceptional care.

A visit to the Emergency department leads to a week-long stay

Madison was just five weeks and three days old when her mother, Hayley Roller, noticed something seriously wrong.

“That night when I changed her into her pajamas I could see the skin between her ribs pulling in as she inhaled,” says Roller.

She was having severe difficulty breathing.

Madison's parents rushed her to the Arnett Emergency department. Team members in the ED, recognizing the seriousness of Madison's condition, swiftly admitted her to a trauma room for evaluation. Roller shares that Madison was in respiratory distress, struggling to breathe and eat. She exhibited symptoms such as a severe cough, congestion and difficulty nursing or taking a bottle correctly, leading to intense vomiting episodes.

Upon assessment, the team initiated high-flow oxygen and conducted essential tests, including blood work and a chest x-ray. Recognizing the gravity of Madison's situation, they informed her parents that NICU admission was likely necessary due to her respiratory and feeding challenges.

Exceptional care for what mattered most

Upon arrival at the Arnett Hospital NICU, a designated Riley Children's Health Level III NICU, team members promptly attended to Madison's needs. She received humidity treatment, oxygen support and a feeding tube.

“They treated her absolutely amazing,” says Roller. “They were all attentive, gentle and so kind.”

The team also maintained transparency with Madison's parents, explaining each step thoroughly and ensuring they understood the reasons behind the treatments. The NICU staff allowed Madison's parents to stay with her at all times, fostering a sense of inclusion in her care.

Beyond medical care for Madison, the Arnett NICU team went above and beyond to provide emotional support to Madison's parents. They ensured their comfort by addressing their needs, such as providing meals, water, blankets, pillows and towels. The team facilitated moments of bonding, allowing Madison's parents to hold her during certain procedures and offering assistance with feeding, even during the night.

“They went above and beyond to help take care of my baby girl and her mom and I as well while we stayed there worried out of our minds and terrified,” says Eric Kelley, Madison’s father.

The exceptional care extended to Madison's discharge, alleviating her parents' nervousness about taking her home. The NICU team reassured them that Madison was healthy enough for discharge, offering the NICU direct number for any post-discharge concerns before connecting with her pediatrician.

This reassurance felt particularly crucial for Roller, who had previously suffered a full-term stillbirth.

“I was extremely nervous about taking her home, but I know they wouldn’t have released her if they weren’t absolutely sure she was doing well enough to go,” says Roller. “They went out of their way to comfort us in knowing she was healthy enough to be discharged.”

The gratitude felt by Madison's parents toward the Arnett team is profound.

"I cannot thank the NICU and ED staff enough for taking such good care of our girl,” says Roller.

The compassionate care provided by individuals like nurses Emma McCoy, Chelsea Jackson and Rhonda Ballard in the NICU left an indelible mark on their hearts. IU Health team members’ dedication, attentiveness and kindness throughout Madison's NICU stay had a profound impact on the healing process for both Madison and her parents.