Seventh-grader Jacob Leveille was just one of the many children who returned to Mount Sinai for the annual gathering. Looking at the robust 12-year-old, you’d never know that he was just 1lb, 7oz at birth. He and his twin brother spent several months in Mount Sinai’s NICU after their mother, Vierginia Leveille, had to have an emergency cesarean section 13 weeks early. Jeremy did not survive to his second birthday.
“He wishes his brother was here with him,” said Vierginia, “but we just couldn’t miss this day. We had to be here to say thank you.”
Twins Emilia and Rosa Alexia entered the world three months ahead of schedule weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces and 1 pound, 7 ounces respectively. They had less than a 50 percent chance of survival. After spending an intensive amount of time in the Mount Sinai NICU, Emilia and Rosa were able to go home. Today, they are 7 months old.
“Every day I am very grateful to have them well,” said mother Joann German. “Because there were many things that could have gone wrong. Because they were born so extremely premature that many things didn’t develop. Every day that I look at them, I’m very grateful to Mount Sinai to have them the way they are.”
Nursery levels are regulated by the state, which requires that Level III NICUs provide the most advanced care and adhere to rigorous state requirements. Mount Sinai’s Abess Level III NICU is proud to provide state-of-the-
Mount Sinai NICU’s neonatologists, Jose Antonio Adams, M.D., and Ignacio Zabaleta, M.D., have worked together for more than two decades, taking care of babies from birth to discharge and providing a level of continuity rare in larger NICUs.
“This is probably one of the best days of the year for us,” said Dr. Adams, chief of the neonatal intensive care unit at Mount Sinai. “It is very humbling to see so many of these kids come back knowing that, without our help, many of them wouldn’t have made it 10 years ago.”
Ten years ago, only 20 to 30 percent of premature babies who weighed as little as Jacob, Emilia and Rosa survived. Today, these babies have a survival rate of more than 90 percents thanks to advances in technology, knowledge and research.
Mount Sinai will continue to host this annual event during the holiday season as a way to reflect on the triumphs of their preemies and to remind everyone that, sometimes, the best gifts come in small packages.
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Mount Sinai Medical Center is the largest independent, private, not-for-profit teaching hospital in South Florida. Mount Sinai's Centers of Excellence combine technology, research and academics to provide innovative and comprehensive care healthcare.