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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

St. John Hospital and Medical Center
22101 Moross Road, Detroit
NICU: 313-343-3497
Section Chief of Pediatrics and Neonatology: Ali Rabbani, M.D.
Clinical Manager, NICU and Special Care Nursery: Sandra Scerri, RNC-NIC, BSN

When babies are very sick, the treatments they receive immediately after birth are critical. St. John Hospital’s 35-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (one of the first in the state) has been a leader in caring for critically ill and premature babies for over 40 years. Dedicated to keeping pace with changing technology and treatments, St. John Hospital currently provides the only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on Detroit’s east side, which means only we are qualified to care for the sickest babies. In fact, as a regional referral center, many community hospitals on Detroit’s east side and extending into the Thumb area transfer their critically ill babies to St. John for care. 

Types of Neonatal Care

Level III neonatal intensive care is given by board-certified neonatologists and a multidisciplinary team experienced in caring for sick newborns. The unit offers family-centered care and the latest in treatment and technology to provide continuous life support and comprehensive care for extremely high-risk newborn infants and those with complex and critical illness. In the NICU, electronic equipment has the ability to take over for bodily functions which are not yet working. Major advances include incubators that closely reproduce the intrauterine environment and special ventilators used to breathe for babies too tiny to breathe on their own. The lungs of premature babies are often not able to function unaided, a condition called Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Surfactant can be given to help the air sacs in the lungs expand and take in more oxygen. As the surfactant takes effect, use of the respirator can gradually be reduced. 

Neonatal Diagnostics and Specialists

St. John Hospital has a full range of on-site pediatric medical subspecialists, advanced technologies, and advanced imaging with interpretation on an urgent basis, including computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and echocardiography. St. John Hospital offers the services of pediatric surgical specialists to perform major surgery.

Special Care Nursery

St. John Hospital offers a Special Care Nursery (a 14-bed acute care unit) located next to the Birthing Center and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The Special Care Nursery team treats newborns with health problems that require intermediate care and close observation for premature babies who no longer require the advanced care of the NICU. Examples of babies treated here are those with minor breathing problems or infections. The Special Care Nursery supports St. John Providence Health's philosophy of family-centered care by encouraging families to participate in baby’s care and to stay together as much as possible.

Special Care Nursery accepts admissions from any pediatrician or family practice physician who has admitting privileges at St. John Hospital and Medical Center. Developmental and separation needs of the babies are addressed in all aspects of care. If the baby does not require constant monitoring or attention by licensed nursing staff, the baby is able to stay with the mother in her Birthing Center room for extended periods of time.

TLC Support Program for NICU babies and families

Our parent-to-parent support program known as offers families the opportunity to talk with former NICU families who had babies in the unit. These volunteers offer many services to families including phone support, visits in the unit, and a substantial lending library.




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We are building a new NICU!

Learn more about our NICU Campaign: Little Miracles...Big Dreams and help us raise funds to support the expansion.

Your baby in the NICU

Click here to learn more about prematurity and your baby in the NICU.

Little Miracles…Big Dreams

The Mary Ann Van Elslander Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery at St. John Hospital and Medical Center (SJH&MC) needs your support to renovate and expand the area and acquire new equipment.