• 55°

First PICU patient arrives at unit in new hospital

By Joanie Morris

Kannapolis Citizen

CONCORD — Connor Dunlap doesn’t appreciate it right now, but everyone else at NorthEast Medical Center does.

Connor, 11, was the first patient to be admitted into the new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at NorthEast Medical Center last week.

Alisa Rogers, a nurse in the Pediatric ICU, is happy with the new facility.

“We actually have a nursing station,” Rogers said. “We’re not right on top of each other.”

Rogers, a Kannapolis native, has spent six years in the PICU at NorthEast Medical Center. She’s seen everything in the old unit and all in the new and the new is much better.

“We’ve got the booms (ceiling hangings) in the rooms so we can move around to best meet the needs of our patients,” Rogers said. “We’ve got a lot more space. The rooms are larger … and a lot more private because (the doors) have frosted glass.”

Michael Vacarro, nurse manager in the facility, said the new facility allows the hospital to give “more patient-focused care.”

“With the booms, you can move the equipment out of the way so the family can get to (the patient) easier,” Vacarro said.

Dr. David Hoover, a pediatric surgeon at NorthEast Medical Center, has been working with Connor and his family for about a year. Connor had a condition known as pectus excavatum where the chest cavity actually caves in. One in about 500 patients develops the disorder, Hoover said. The operation performed on Connor was only the third performed at the hospital — the only center in the Charlotte region to perform what is called the Nuss Procedure to reverse the disorder.

During the operation, two lateral incisions are made on either side of the chest for insertion of a curved steel bar under the sternum. It is then fixed to the ribs on either side and the incisions are closed and dressed. The bar is not visible from the outside and stays in place for about two years, Hoover said. Children with the disorder often experience shortness of breath, exercise intolerance and chest pain as the result of compression and displacement of the heart and lungs.

Connor will stay in the hospital for about a week. While he’s there, he will get to enjoy the amenities offered, including wireless Internet, flatscreen televisions and lots of soothing colors.

For his parents, sleep rooms were available so they didn’t have to leave him in the hospital while they went home. The sleep rooms are also equipped with wireless Internet and flatscreen televisions, along with pullout beds and a small kitchenette and bathing area.

“It makes the family a lot more comfortable than they would be,” Vacarro said.

Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or jmorris@kannapoliscitizen.com.


Comments closed.


Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped


Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday


Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?


City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event


Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race


Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children


Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot


Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting


Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?


Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina


Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide


RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey


Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County


Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park


History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County


‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove


Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations


‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation


Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year


Ester Marsh: What body type are you?


The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone


Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million