Lifestyle

Healthcare providers and NICU patients reunite at Santa Barbara Zoo

NICU Reunion

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A special reunion was held Sunday for doctors, nurses and their former patients as Cottage Children's Hospital held its 30th annual NICU reunion at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

David Blais, a Carpinteria father, spoke of the doctors and nurses at Cottage Children's Hospital who took care of his son Titus when he was born. 

"Super human people," Blais said. "They always have the same game face on every time we walked in. They always made us feel really good and really special." 

Titus was in the neonatal intensive care unit for ten days.

"It was hard at first but by the end I was like, 'I don't want to leave. Can you take care of him?" Blais said with a laugh.

Titus is almost two years old now and is the picture of health.

Hundreds of parents, like Blais, came to the Santa Barbara Zoo to give thanks and reconnect with the heroes who cared for their children at their most vulnerable. 

Dr. Steven Barkley, medical director of the NICU, says the reunion is also a time to celebrate how far these children have come and how fast they are growing.

 "We see children when they are very young, sometimes in pretty desperate situations and yet they can get through that, they can thrive, they can go home," Barkley said,

Many of the children were born premature or with some complication at delivery, but are all now celebrating the gift of life.

"I just want to say that Cottage Hospital in an amazing place and it was just an amazing experience too," Blais said,


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