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Some families rely on Einstein for miracles. Others rely on us for two.

Now six years old, Mia loves to draw, run, jump and climb. Her twin sister Sofia loves acting and singing.They both love their little sister Olivia. What's so unusual about this story? Mia and Sofia are “super preemies,” born just shy of 28 weeks gestational age, only 2 pounds each.

Just 23 weeks into her first pregnancy, their mom, Einstein staffer Lauren Montenegro, was looking forward to an average day at work when a routine check up revealed that she was in danger of delivering the twins prematurely.  Lauren spent the next five weeks at the hospital, and when the twins arrived, they were whisked to Einstein’s neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, where they spent the next 10 weeks. 

Over the next two years, the happy, healthy twins received personal follow up care with one of Einstein’s developmental pediatricians in the high-risk clinic to make sure that they were progressing as expected and to address any potential developmental concerns.

“I feel so proud of what Einstein did for us,” says Lauren. “The obstetrical and NICU teams saved Mia and Sofia, and the developmental pediatricians were amazing. They taught us so much.  We are so grateful not just for the incredible care, but for how personal they made it for us. How connected they let us be to our babies, and how sensitive they were to us as a family.”

Lauren and husband Pat, who donate to Einstein every year on the twins’ birthday, are not alone. Each year, the hospital delivers thousands of babies, many of whom need special care. Einstein also has a very strong high risk pregnancy program, a huge asset in a community where many mothers fall into that category. The hospital delivers about 3,000 babies each year – almost 50 percent more than just six years ago. The maternity unit consists of 16 doctors - 11 of whom perform deliveries - and four specialists in high-risk pregnancy care. A level III nursery enables Einstein to take care of even the most fragile babies.

More impressive than Einstein’s clinical excellence in obstetrics and neonatal care is its ongoing commitment to providing these services. The hospital loses about $2,000 per maternity patient. In an era when more and more local hospitals are leaving the baby business, Einstein lives out its mission by ensuring local women and families access to this vital area of care.

“Access to quality maternity care in Pennsylvania has reached a crisis point,” says Arnold Cohen, MD, chairman of Einstein’s Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology. “However, Einstein is committed to fulfilling our mission to care for the community we serve. “

Einstein’s commitment to its community is truly a labor of love. It’s a commitment each doctor, nurse and staff member feels every day.

“I love how important our work is,” says Dr. Cohen. “I know that if I don’t do a good job, people will not get the care they deserve. I love training young doctors to be the future of medicine. I love the support Einstein’s Board and administration provide for everything we need to do to maintain the quality and safety of care.  There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be.”


Taking Time to Care for Yourself

Kim Alston is a Human Resources specialist for the Women’s Center at Einstein Healthcare Network. Like many healthcare professionals, Kim spends her days taking care of and supporting others. But for many years she had lost sight of the importance of taking the time to care for herself. Today, Kim is a strong advocate of annual health screenings, specifically breast cancer screenings. Kim recognizes the importance of screenings, not only because she’s a healthcare professional, but also because they save peoples’ lives.

For many years life just got busy for Kim. Her family and job were her top priorities, and her own health slipped off her radar.  She began to put off her annual breast exams. She would reschedule the exams as “more important” tasks got in the way and once or twice eventually turned into years. For eight years, Kim failed to make time to receive regular breast examinations or mammograms.

In December, 2007, Kim took a break from the holiday rush to relax. She sat down to watch some television and noticed soreness and tenderness in her left breast. When Kim checked herself, she noticed a small lump. Right away, she made an appointment to see her doctor.  A mammogram was ordered immediately.  Even though no abnormality was seen, the doctors did not stop there. An ultrasound was performed which did show the mass, and an MRI was also obtained. After a biopsy was performed, she found out that she had breast cancer.

“I was in shock, disbelief, denial and then disappointment in myself," she says. "I wanted to rewind time and go back eight years to see what I was doing.  What was so important that I could not take an hour break from my husband, kids and my job to get a check up?”

After her diagnosis, Kim went through tests to find out if the cancer had spread and to determine the stage of the disease. After reviewing her options, she decided to have a double mastectomy and had a skin sparing surgery with immediate reconstruction. Following the surgery, Kim required three months of chemotherapy.

“People help other people get through these situations. And in therapy we could just be sick or sad or angry, and no one would look at us differently.  If you were having a bad day, it was OK.”

While in therapy, Kim was a spark of light and joy for other chemotherapy patients in the center. She loves salsa music and dancing, so when it was her week for chemotherapy, she’d bring in salsa music to play and lift everyone’s spirits. Kim was highly appreciative of the care and support she received at Einstein’s Cancer Center.

It’s been nearly two years since her diagnosis and Kim shares her experience with many. She has learned so much from her own experience that she is compelled to be an advocate for annual health screenings for women.

“I got a second chance, I got to live again,” says Kim, “ … I understand that life is hectic at times, but nothing is more important than living. If you wait, it may be too late. Health screenings are important. I can’t emphasize it enough.”

Einstein Healthcare Network
Office of Development
Braemer Building, Ground Floor
5501 Old York Road Philadelphia, PA 19141
Phone: (215) 456-7200
Fax: (215) 456-7165

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