When Rhonda and Chris Pruitt’s fifth son, Eli, was born over two years ago, he was unresponsive and had an Apgar score of only 1. (The Apgar score is a 1 to 10 assessment of an infant’s wellness, 10 being best.) Due to complications of Eli’s delivery, a normal temperature could have put him at risk for neurologic compromise and life-threatening complications. He was immediately rushed to the Henry Zarrow Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis where doctors used therapeutic hypothermia therapy to cool his body and decrease the demands of his vital organs. Therapeutic hypothermia requires a 72-hour treatment starting within six hours of a baby’s birth and involves careful monitoring of multiple physiologic and hematologic parameters.
Thankfully today, Eli is a healthy, happy and vibrant two-year-old. “I thank God we were in the right place,” says Rhonda. “The NICU at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis had the life-saving care we needed.”