With the addition of a new Neonatologist, more Island babies who are sick or born more prematurely will be able to receive neonatal intensive care services closer to home.
Islander Dr. Beth Ellen Brown has joined the PEI health care team as a Neonatologist which has allowed the establishment of a provincial Neonatology Service. The service is an expansion of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Dr. Brown, a native of Charlottetown, completed her medical degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador followed by her pediatrics residency at Western University. She is returning to the Island after completion of specialized training in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Dalhousie University.
“For the entirety of my medical training I have been looking forward to the day when I join the QEH as a neonatologist; it has been my long-term aspiration to advance neonatal intensive care on Prince Edward Island,” said Dr. Brown. “Together, we will provide more specialized care to both premature babies and to full-term babies who are significantly unwell. This specialized care will not only include advanced neonatal intensive care services, but also enhanced family-centered care.
“In providing such care, families will be able to stay together and be part of the medical team providing care to their babies. This is the tremendous advantage of family-centered care, and it is this type of care that has been shown to improve outcomes for these babies.”
“It is wonderful to have Dr. Brown return home to practice and increase availability of specialized care for Islanders whose babies are born prematurely. For newborns, having their parent(s) and families nearby can positively impact their development, and may even mean they can go home sooner.”
– Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward
Once the Neonatology Service becomes fully operational, premature babies born up to 12 weeks early and full-term babies requiring advanced intensive care services will no longer be transferred off Island to receive necessary care. It will also mean families of these babies will remain together on PEI.
Furthermore, while some babies needing surgical and other specialized care will still be transferred off Island, these babies will be transferred back to the Island sooner meaning a reduction in the amount of time babies and families spend out of province.
“I am happy that Dr. Brown is joining the Health PEI family and that she is bringing added knowledge to the pediatric services at the QEH that will benefit Islanders,” said Dr. Andre Celliers, Executive Director of Medical Affairs for Health PEI. “We will be able to repatriate infants sooner to PEI from the IWK and decrease the hardship of new parents that have to travel and be away from home for long periods with premature babies.”
In addition to hiring a full-time Neonatologist, government will be hiring several specialized staff including a neonatal nurse practitioner, respiratory therapists, a registered nurse and other supports for the Neonatology Service.
From Government of PEI news release – February 10, 2020