Neonatology/Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
To request a consult or arrange transportation to the NICU, please call Boston MedFlight at 1-800-233-8998.
Explore This Treatment Program
State-of-the-Art Newborn Care in a World-Renowned Academic Medical Center
Each year nearly 4,000 babies are born at Massachusetts General Hospital. The majority of these babies and their families receive their newborn care from our Newborn Medical Service on the post-partum family unit. For babies who require more intensive care, the NICU provides expert critical care medicine, in collaboration with our pediatric medical and surgical colleagues from MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). Including nearly 200 newborn patients that are transported specifically to MGHfC for intensive care, we treat 700 newborns in The Patty Ribakoff Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (SCN).
Our NICU opened in June 2006 and remains one of the most advanced and family-focused newborn intensive care units in the New England region. Similarly, our Special Care Nursery was renovated and expanded in 2016.
Our NICU/SCN has 35 beds in total and each bed is outfitted with Angel Eye—a camera system that securely transmits video and audio so that families can stay in touch with their baby when away from the bedside.
Advanced Care Services
Patients admitted to the MassGeneral Hospital for Children for intensive newborn care have access to specialists in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. The NICU is equipped to care for premature and critically ill patients with complex congenital conditions that require medical or surgical intervention.
The NICU provides care for pre-term and term infants, including patients up to two weeks of age who are admitted from home, or neonates and infants up to three months of age who are transferred from another hospital. The most advanced technological and therapeutic resources are available to help care for patients and sustain life, including:
- Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation: In part pioneered by physicians at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, ECMO functions as an artificial lung for patients with acute, reversible respiratory failure.
- Inhaled nitric oxide: For cardiac and pulmonary patients with persistent hypertension, respiratory distress, aspiration syndrome, pneumonia, sepsis or congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
- Total body hypothermia: A new therapy for infants with moderate to severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy that has been shown to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes.
- Operating Room: The highly specialized MGHfC pediatric surgical team works closely with the NICU team. The NICU includes two bays designed to accommodate surgical procedures, complete with surgical lighting and ample space for the operating room team. This provides the advantage of avoiding the risks associated with transporting critically ill infants to the operating room.
- Retina Surgery: The pediatric retina team from MEEI treats children with all conditions of the retina and works with the NICU to treat premature infants with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), including laser treatment and surgical interventions.
- Airway Evaluation: The MEEI airway team is a world-renowned group of specialists who provide care for pediatric patients with congenital and/or acquired disorders of the aero-digestive tract.
Unparalleled Continuity of Care from Conception to Adulthood
Massachusetts General Hospital and MassGeneral Hospital for Children are uniquely positioned to provide patients with high-quality specialty care from conception through pregnancy, delivery, the neonatal period, childhood and into adulthood all under one roof. NICU staff actively coordinate care with other services at Mass General including Maternal Fetal Medicine, the Fetal Care Program, the Fetal Cardiology Program and specialized long-term follow up programs such as the Down Syndrome Program and Adult Congenital Heart Disease.
The Newborn Developmental Follow-Up Clinic pays special attention to the development of high-risk infants, helping families and community-based pediatricians address issues of growth and development. The clinic aids in the early identification of potential medical, neurological, developmental and nutritional issues, and guides families and primary-care providers to specific services as needed.
The NICU is committed to extending our expertise to all infants in need of treatment in New England and beyond. Partners Neonatal Transport Program, in collaboration with Boston MedFlight, provides rapid transfer and expert care for critically ill infants born outside of Mass General.
Our experienced multidisciplinary team works with the referring physician to provide necessary advice and facilitate the transfer of a baby to a tertiary care Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The unique logistical capabilities of Boston Medflight paired with the expertise of the Mass General and Brigham and Women's NICUs offers quick response time and ability to transport the complex and most vulnerable patients to the place where optimal care can be delivered.
To request a consult or arrange transportation to the NICU please call Boston MedFlight 1-800-233-8998. Referring physicians and other healthcare professionals may request a consultation, second opinion or transport 24 hours a day. In special cases, long-distance transports can be arranged.
We recognize and value the role of parents and families in creating a comprehensive care plan for each child in our NICU. As such, parents (and/or banded care-givers) are welcome in the unit at any time. There is dedicated parent space at each infant’s bedside, where parents may remain throughout their child’s admission.
We offer Angel Eye at every bedside to allow parents and family members to see their infants even when they cannot be present. The Angel Eye camera system securely transmits video and audio so families can stay in touch with their baby when away from the bedside.
Because family-centered care is the cornerstone of the care provided throughout MGHfC, our multi-disciplinary team works closely with parents, siblings, and families to provide the most thorough care to each of our patients and empower families to continue that care throughout their stay and after discharge. Our multi-disciplinary team includes attending physicians, bedside nurses, fellows, residents, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physical therapists, pharmacists, social workers, and a comprehensive list of pediatric consult services, all of whom work together to provide the best and most thorough care.
- Daily rounding with the attending neonatologist, alongside the bedside nurse and the rest of the care team, occurs at each patient’s bedside; parents are welcome and encouraged to be present.
- We ensure that every family has formal sit-down meetings with the attending neonatologist as well as the social worker, nurse, and the multi-disciplinary team to provide a broader discussion of each patient’s care and long-term plan.
- A dedicated social worker will work closely with each patient to help parents cope, provide support, and find resources.
For Health Professionals
The NICU works within a network of healthcare partners, including these community hospitals:
- North Shore Medical Center
- Newton Wellesley Hospital
- Elizabeth’s Medical Center
- Good Samaritan Medical Center
- Holy Family Hospital
- Norwood Hospital
- Emerson Hospital
- Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
- Nantucket Cottage Hospital
- Eastern Maine Medical Center
- Southern New Hampshire Medical Center
- York Hospital (Maine)
The NICU participates in the Harvard Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Training Program. As such, Harvard fellows rotate through our NICU.
The NICU is also part of the MGHfC core residency training program.
The MassGeneral Hospital for Children Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is committed to conducting research and expanding knowledge about the conditions that affect our patients. Our researchers are engaged in numerous areas of study, including infant brain and lung development, early immune system development and infant feeding readiness and pain responses. Learn more about research at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.