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Penn Hospital Hosts Reunion For NICU ‘Graduates’

(Megan and Juliana are facing the camera at the Intensive Care Nursery reunion. Leilani and Quanda are sitting across from them. Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Megan and Juliana are facing the camera at the Intensive Care Nursery reunion. Leilani and Quanda are sitting across from them. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania hosted a reunion today, for the tiniest patients it treats.

Children who graduated from the Intensive Care Nursery were welcomed back, along with their parents, of course.

You’d think they’d want to forget about their experience in a hospital as quickly and completely as possible, but according to Megan Atkinson, that’s not the case.

“When we were in the NICU everyone was so kind to us,” she said. “Even though it was a hard time, we had such a great experience with them really taking care of her.”

Her daughter, Juliana, was born at 32 weeks and needed help breathing. That was eight months ago.

Now, Atkinson says, “She’s doing great. She just needed to grow a little bit and stay there for a while.”

Assistant nursing manager Kelly Karp says parents enjoy these periodic reunions to show the staff how far their children have come, and the staff loves to see them thriving.

“Everyone’s got a smile on their face,” said Karp. “That’s the best thing we could possibly ask for.”

Nine-month-old Leilani was smiling and blowing bubbles. Her mother Quanda says her weeks in intensive care ended with a healthy baby:

“It’s not that we came back to remember the tragic times but to remember the good times that we had there.”

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