Lucia Anthony

New NICU Saves Lucia’s Preemie Baby Boy

When every minute counts and two lives wait in the balance, it becomes of utmost importance to be able to locate emergency medical care. Quickly.

Lucia was just 17 years old and pregnant with her first child when she found herself going into premature labor – a terrifying prospect for a young girl and her baby in a place where childbirth mortality is among the highest in the world.

The tragedy persists because of the widespread lack of quality healthcare for so many young women here. Girls who live too far from medical facilities often have no choice but to give birth at home on a dirt floor, facing labor without qualified medical supervision or sanitary conditions. Any complication, whether minor or severe, can turn deadly.

But Lucia was one of the lucky ones. It was eight weeks too soon for her to be giving birth. But because of a high quality medical facility within her reach – Mother of Mercy Hospital directed by missionary doctor Tom Catena and supported by our donors – Lucia and her baby would receive the best care during her tenuous premature birth.

Lucia was rushed to the hospital that represents the only place of hope in the Nuba Mountains for 300 miles in each direction. She was treated at the recently expanded maternity ward and labored all night. 

In the morning, her baby boy was admitted directly into the NICU – a newly opened wing of the hospital that serves as the ICU for babies and toddlers. That Lucia’s baby could receive critical care in a hospital NICU in this remote location is rare and remarkable. No other facility for hundreds of miles would be able to provide medical care for a premature baby.

For weeks Lucia waited and watched her tiny baby go from struggling to thriving, as he was cared for in the new wing known affectionately as Kangaroo Care. After six weeks, she was elated to learn he was considered in good condition and strong enough to thrive on his own. Lucia would be taking her baby boy home. 

While two lives were potentially saved that day Lucia arrived, she was exuberant that her new son was alive and well. She shared with staff how grateful she was for the hospital, and for the special care for preemies available at Mother of Mercy – knowing her baby wouldn’t have survived without it.

Mother of Mercy Hospital continues to fight every day to overturn the high incidence of mother and infant deaths in childbirth, by providing maternity care, emergency services, wellness checkups, and follow-up care for newborns. Under Dr. Tom Catena’s supervision, additional qualified midwives are being trained here to bring safer childbirth to more women in remote areas.

These advancements to protect women and the unborn are possible because of our donors, who continually support the mission and needs of Mother of Mercy Hospital and Dr. Tom. Each year donors supply nearly all the medicines used to run the hospital and corresponding clinics. Their support has allowed updated equipment and new additions like operating rooms, blood banks, an expanded maternity ward and new children’s wing that save many more lives. Thank you for making a difference.

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