With the addition of EAMC’s first neonatologist, Audra Prince, M.D., EAMC now offers patients a seven-bed Level II nursery with neonatology services. A Level II nursery is a special care nursery organized with the equipment and personnel to care for infants born at 32 weeks gestation and who weigh more than 1,500 grams (about 3.3 pounds).
Dr. Prince is the first neonatologist to join EAMC’s Womens and Childrens services team. She is board certified in neonatal-perinatal medicine, received her medical degree from the University of Arkansas and completed both her fellowship in neonatology and her residency in pediatrics at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Prince is originally from Opelika, and was born at Lee County Hospital before it became East Alabama Medical Center.
Before Dr. Prince began practicing at EAMC, our medical staff stabilized premature babies here before they would be transferred to a NICU out of town. Now, babies who are born at 32 weeks gestation and older, are able to stay at EAMC as they grow and improve to a level of health that is proper for discharge.
“Having a baby transferred to a NICU out of town is extremely stressful for the family,” says Rosemary Cummings, executive director of Womens and Childrens services at EAMC. “Typically, while the mother is recovering from childbirth, someone else will have to leave her side to travel with the baby to a NICU hours away, which is a challenge. Breastfeeding is also extremely challenging in these circumstances.”
Not only does Dr. Prince bring a new level of expertise to the Level II nursery at EAMC, she is also able to provide stabilization and the first steps of special care for babies who will be transferred to a NICU.
“Knowing that we now have a neonatologist on staff can reassure parents that we have even more advanced skills in our Mother/Baby Unit that can enhance what our pediatricians are already doing,” says Cummings.
“This new specialty is greatly enhancing the already robust Women and Children Services that we offer,” says Jane Fullum, vice president and chief nursing officer at EAMC. “With more than 2,000 babies being born each year at EAMC, adding the wealth of knowledge that Dr. Prince brings is helping us to better meet the needs of our community, which is one of the fastest growing communities in the Southeast.”