The other day I visited UM Hospital’s NICU. A NICU is a neonatal intensive care unit, aka a ward which specializes in the care of premature and/or sick newborns. This ward was split into three units: intensive care (for those who need constant care and monitoring), high care (those who need less care) and medium care (those who need only a little extra attention or medication).
In the last quarter I’ve been following two courses: Perception and Infancy. This trip supplemented our Infancy readings on prematurity and neonatal development. It was a unique experience to talk to a doctor and see an intensive care unit first-hand. The babies were very small and most were in incubators. We are learning about the neurological impacts of prematurity, but the physiological impacts were most apparent. Many infants were hooked-up to multiple machines which helped with breathing, monitored heart-rate and provided nutrients. Although the machines were all very high tech, my favorite thing in the ward was that each child had a toy octopus in their bed. Apparently the octopus’ tentacle feels like an umbilical cord and this soothes them!