Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Rick Cleveland: We all owe them.

We are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at University of Mississippi Medical Center. Tiny, tiny babies are everywhere you look. This day, there are 80 of them, from all over the state, and most are crying.

That's a good thing, a doctor tells me. Crying is good. You worry, she says, when they don't cry. Many of these infants were born prematurely. Some are terribly ill. Some have heart defects. Some have neurological problems. Many are fighting for their lives.

Most importantly, lives are being saved.

There's plenty more noise from monitors, ventilators, IV pumps, you name it. It makes for quite the cacophony. Nurses don't seem to notice. The babies are keeping them busy.

A young mother closes a curtain to her baby's cubicle so she can breastfeed in as much privacy as possible. It's obvious, even to an untrained visitor, this unit could use more space.

•••

By now, you are wondering what exactly is this doing on the sports page, and we are about to get to that. Earlier in the day, elsewhere on the UMMC campus, a press conference was held during which Joe Sanderson, CEO of Sanderson Farms, handed a check for more than $1.1 million from the PGA Tour's Sanderson Farms Championship and Century Club Charities to the hospital. That's what the tournament raised for UMMC this year, slightly more than last year, which was twice as much as the year before.

Pretty soon, the saying goes, we will be talking about some real money. We already are. And the really good news is that Sanderson Farms has committed to sponsor the tournament for another decade.

“We believe that it is important, particularly for the charities and for the children's hospital, to know that we’re going to be here for that period of time,” Joe Sanderson said. “The people of the Jackson metro area and the state of Mississippi need to know that they can depend on us.”

The neonatal ICU unit at UMMC is the state's only level four (the highest possible) unit of its kind in Mississippi. Sick babies are brought here from all over the state and beyond.

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, called the donation “an incredible gift to the children of Mississippi.”

Approximately 900 newborns a year are treated annually in the cramped NICU unit, which badly needs expanding.

That's the plan, says Guy Giesecke, CEO of the children's hospital. And the Sanderson Farms money will go toward that expansion plan.

UMMC last year announced a plan to built a four-story tower that will adjoin the current children’s hospital, providing badly needed room for NICU and other areas of the hospital.

Parents will be able to stay with their babies, especially important because so many of the infants are from outside the Jackson area. Mothers can breastfeed in private. Parents can share in the care of their babies, learning what they will need to know how to do when they leave the hospital. Doctors and nurses will have more room to work.

Said Giesecke, “We anticipate the average stay in the NICU will drop, which will open more beds and save money for the families and for the state.”

•••

So what does this have to do with sports? The Sanderson Farms Championship over the next few years will provide millions toward the expansion. The football-famous Manning family has helped raise millions already for the hospital and will continue to do so.

We all owe them. We all can help. It is hard to imagine a more worthy cause. Lives are saved in the hustle and bustle of NICU every day.

You never know, one of these preemies might be the next Dak Prescott, Eli Manning, or Brett Favre — or, a PGA champion.

•••

Donations may be sent to Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216

•••

Rick Cleveland is the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum's historian and a syndicated columnist. His email address is rcleveland@msfame.com
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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Trying to read this at the VA and it says BANNED. "Banned terms" "Illegal drugs#


Anonymous said...

Don't tell me who or what I "owe" without telling us first Cleveland what you kicked in.

Anonymous said...

It would be even nicer if Joe Sanderson would ensure humane working conditions for the people who process those chickens.

Anonymous said...

"tough crowd ... tough crowd" (necktie adjustment)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful contribution to the infants and parents of infants that Sanderson Farms and the Manning family are providing. Let's be thankful and become participants in the effort. Leave your negative comments away from Blair Batson Children's Hospital- a real crown jewel in our state.

Anonymous said...

How horribly nasty of you, 10:17.
Agreed, 12:07.
Lovely story, thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Amen 12:07. All the usual bitchers should back off every now and then. Rick has a very good column - and praises some folks who are doing some very good things. You don't like Rick; or Joe Sanderson; or Mannings; or OM; or UMMC - fine. Pack it up for a while. This isn't about any of them as individuals - but does talk about the good that the Center is doing for those that need it most, and not due to anything that they had to do with their need.

I, for one, thank Joe Sanderson and his firm; Archie & Olivia and their boys for supporting this with their time, effort and dollars. If you don't that's your choice but think twice next time before just throwing your crap into the bowl and screwing up the soup.

Anonymous said...

Great Samaritans!!

Rick may have to add Chad Kelly to his list of Mississippi sporting greats after next year.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rodney- long time no see @ 11:42

Anonymous said...

Great article, Rick. Really wonderful contribution, and I am sure much needed.

Anonymous said...

Friends of mine work at UMMC. They HATE it. The place is a disaster from top to bottom with incredibly poor leadership.

Anonymous said...

Please @5:26, curb your attitude for the Sandersons, the Mannings and Rick Cleveland. You own them your subjugation.

Anonymous said...

5:26 pm, I expect your friends , like you. would look for what to hate...birds of a feather and all that.

As a patient, I can tell you that unlike anywhere else, I get appointment reminders, reminders to update immunizations that it's time to get a routine test, never have to wait more than 15 minutes past my appointment time, get needed tests quickly and the results immediately on my computer. The doctors who see me have easy access to my chart so they know whether or not their treatment protocols would make another medical issue worse.

And, two of my friends and a child of friends is alive today because of the remarkably talented doctors at UMMC who are up on the latest available treatments and surgical rock stars.

And, more than a few of my friends are dead because they didn't get timely referrals to other specialists for tests and treatment from their doctor!

Anonymous said...

5:26 some advice for your friends: go get a fast food job, I hear they are getting a raise to $15/hour. much better than they are getting for mopping floors at UMMC...

Anonymous said...

Batson and its physicians are treasures. They have made a huge difference in my child's life. I have also been a patient at UMMC and think it provides outstanding care. When we moved to a different part of the state, I deliberately chose a doctor who is UMMC trained.

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Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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