Marshfield Children's Hospital NICU celebrates 50 years

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MARSHFIELD, Wis (WSAW) -- On Sunday the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Marshfield Children’s Hospital celebrated their 50th anniversary. Nearly 1,000 former patients and their families were invited to the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds to reunite with the staff who assisted them while they stayed at the hospital.

"These families have been through a lot, and some were with us for a long time,” explained Jodi Meronk, who is the Patient Care Supervisor at the NICU. “This is a celebration of their life and what they went through."

NICU is mostly for newborn infants who were born before the 37th week of pregnancy that resulted in multiple health concerns. By staying in the NICU, the newborns have around the clock care in case of an emergency.

“By celebrating 50-years we also celebrate the families coming together with the staff,” said Ruthie Watt, Director of Women’s and Children’s at the Marshfield Medical Center. “We are their extended family.”

The event started at 11:00 a.m. and lasted until 3:00 p.m. For many doctors, this was the first time seeing their former patients after graduating for the NICU.

“Most of them are so unrecognizable now because they are years older,” said Dr. Jody Gross who has been a Neonatologist at Marshfield Children’s Hospital for the past 35-years. This event was extra special for Gross because she’s retiring this summer. “I recognize the parents more than the kids," she laughed.

Staff at the hospital say they are pleased to have this facility in central Wisconsin so families do not have to travel to Madison to seek proper medical attention.