Helping preemies thrive

Neonatologist Ira Adams-Chapman, pictured here with one of her patients.
Neonatologist Ira Adams-Chapman, pictured here with one of her patients.

 

sidebar

From the Executive VP

Charity care in Emory Healthcare

Caring for the elderly

Caring for kids

Care at Grady Hospital

Emory and the Atlanta VA Medical Center

Serving locally and globally

Research

Education

Economic impact

Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Emory neonatologist Ira Adams-Chapman first met Andrew and Axel almost three years ago when the twins were transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

"Our goal is to support parents and help them recognize and maximize their child's potential while the developing brain is most malleable."

Born four months prematurely, the palm-sized boys faced life-threatening complications. Adams-Chapman and a team of other clinicians oversaw their care. When the babies left the hospital after three months, the good news was that they had a good chance to live. But preterm birth is a leading cause of long-term neurologic disabilities. Problems like cerebral palsy and developmental delay manifest as preemies grow into toddlers, a fact underscoring the importance of continued evaluation and follow-up for all extremely premature babies.

Thanks to the Developmental Progress Clinic (DPC) on the Emory University campus, with a branch at Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital on the Grady Hospital campus, Adams-Chapman can continue to work with the twins and with hundreds of other at-risk "graduates" from the Emory Regional Perinatal Center's neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) throughout Atlanta and North Georgia. She, another neonatologist, a general pediatrician, and a team of pediatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, physical therapists, social workers, and nutritionists annually conduct more than 1,200 developmental, cognitive, and behavioral evaluations.

Developmental evaluations are performed twice each year until the age of 2, then once annually through age 5. The team tries to address medical and neurologic issues affecting each child's development, then makes recommendations for follow-up and therapy. It connects parents with community resources and suggests interventions and activities families can do at home. "Parents are doing a Herculean job," says Adams-Chapman. "Our goal is to support them and help them recognize and maximize their child's potential while the developing brain is most malleable." 

It's a Herculean task for the team too. Limited funding comes from the Georgia Department of Community Health and from Medicaid and other insurance programs. But reimbursements never cover expenses. Last year the shortfall was more than $500,000, which Emory picked up. Adams-Chapman says, "Thankfully, Emory recognizes that caring for these infants extends well beyond hospital discharge. This clinic is an investment in the entire child and family."

   
   
 
 

Emory pediatricians serve as part of the safety net to get Georgia's children the care they need. Emory offers pediatric care in collaboration with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta as well as high-risk perinatal and neonatal care at Emory University Hospital Midtown and at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

 



Table of Contents




Community Benefits Report Cover 2012