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Mackenzie Health
10 Trench Street, Richmond Hill
Ontario L4C 4Z3

Mackenzie Health Foundation
10 Trench Street, Richmond Hill
Ontario L4C 4Z3

Expert Care for Every Baby


Claudia and her twins, former Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients with Niloofar Rafsanjani, Registered Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Planning, they say, makes perfect. But little about the end of Claudia’s last pregnancy went as planned. “First I was diagnosed with preeclampsia,” says the four-time mom. Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious – even fatal – complications for both mom and baby. Or in Claudia’s case, babies, as she was pregnant with twins.

Of course, Claudia’s doctors weren’t going to risk her health or the health of her boys, so she was admitted to Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital well ahead of her due date. “I was on bed rest for about three weeks before I even went into labour,” she explains.

With a room right in the mother and baby unit, Claudia was in good hands. “All the nurses were so concerned about me", she says. “It was a really supportive environment.”

Once the twins arrived, Claudia was eager to bundle them up and get home to her two older children. But that’s when the plan changed yet again: “My boys were having trouble feeding and were struggling to gain weight the way they should,” she recalls.

Again, her doctors were there immediately, transferring the twins to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) without delay. The expert NICU team quickly stepped in to make sure the boys were getting all the calories they needed through feeding tubes, and then carefully monitored their progress. Their comprehensive support meant that Claudia could rest and recover, knowing the boys would reach their critical early growth milestones.


The twins in the NICU incubator as babies


Claudia ’s twins, former Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients


325 infants were cared for in Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in 2018


Claudia (right) and Niloofar Rafsanjani, Registered Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Of course, healthy babies need healthy families, so the NICU’s care teams work hard to support parents, as well. Nurses, social workers, lactation consultants, care coordinators and other experts are on hand around the clock to make sure families are looked after during an extremely stressful time. “The NICU really is a special place,” Claudia says. “The care is so personal.”

This exceptional level of family-focused care will get even better as we shift our innovative Woman and Child Program to the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital in late 2020. That state-of-the-art NICU will be outfitted with the latest lifesaving equipment and include space for skin-to-skin care, which according to the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation can help infants gain weight and develop healthy brains.


Mackenzie Health is creating a comprehensive centre of care for pregnant and labouring women, high-risk newborns and children at Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital.

Claudia’s positive experience in the NICU has inspired her to look for ways to support this special new resource through her own fundraising initiatives. “This is a community effort,” she says. “And, small or large, every contribution matters.” Especially, it seems, to some of our tiniest patients.


“Our dedicated NICU nurses provide our most fragile patients – sick and premature newborns – with expert, hands-on care. The NICU team is dedicated to making sure moms and dads get the comfort and reassurance they need in a really trying time.”

– Tessie Gilhooly, Patient Care Manager, Woman and Child

Gucciardi Family supports new pediatric unit designed just for kids.


Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital’s new seven-bed Pediatric Inpatient Unit is all about child-friendly spaces. Large, light-filled rooms and the latest gaming systems keep patients happier while they’re recovering, and in-room sleeper sofas make it possible for parents to be with their children 24/7. This unique new unit has come together thanks to a generous donation from the Gucciardi family and is yet another example of their long-standing commitment to better health outcomes for all.

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