Newswise — ORLANDO, Fla (February 18, 2014) – Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies is opening the doors to an expansion of its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The expansion, which adds 30 beds to the hospital’s existing 112-bed NICU, will make it the largest NICU in the world under one roof.

“Our NICU is one of the busiest in the country and has been running at or near capacity from the moment we opened our doors,” says Kathy Swanson, president of Arnold Palmer Medical Center. “We’ll treat more than 1,600 babies in our NICU this year with a wide variety of conditions that require advanced care for weeks or months in some cases. These 30 new beds allow us to more effectively treat those babies with the world-class care our NICU is known for.”

Located on the eleventh floor of Winnie Palmer Hospital, the new $13-million unit was funded totally through philanthropic support. It is named the Haley Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in honor of Roy and Dee Haley, a local family that was one of several donors who provided philanthropic support for planning and construction. The unit will feature 30 level-2 (intermediate care level) NICU beds in an environment designed by architecture firm Page Southerland Page to help enhance family-centered care. It will foster more family bonding time and opportunities for parents to become more comfortable in caring for their baby’s medical and developmental needs. Each room in the new unit is private with a fold-down bed to accommodate overnight stays by a family member, and includes a private bathroom and shower among other amenities. Construction of the Haley Family NICU was managed by Robins and Morton.

With the addition of the Haley Family NICU, Winnie Palmer Hospital’s Alexander Center for Neonatology, which is named after neonatology pioneer Gregor Alexander, M.D., holds 142 beds. The center is organized to provide highly skilled, life-saving care to critically-ill newborns suffering from prematurity, respiratory distress, cardiac disease, congenital anomalies, multi-system organ failure and other problems. It is one of four NICUs in Florida to offer ECMO (advanced heart-lung bypass technology) to infants and children with acute, severe respiratory or cardiac disease.

“We’re seeing more newborns who need the advanced care we can provide in our NICU and this expansion helps us meet that growing need,” says David Auerbach, M.D., medical director of the NICU. “More importantly for a family with a preemie, it is comforting to know their baby is in the hands of an expert team with the best clinical outcomes in Florida for low-birth weight babies.”

Winnie Palmer Hospital announced the opening of the Haley Family NICU at a mid-morning press conference featuring one of its most notable NICU graduates – three-year-old William McGee – son of Mike McGee and Annika Sorenstam, the most successful female golfer in history.



Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 315-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and babies. As part of Arnold Palmer Medical Center, the hospital is Magnet®-designated for its commitment to quality patient care, safety, research, and service excellence. It is a leader in neonatal intensive care, and comprehensive healthcare for women throughout all stages of life, providing a wide range of services in obstetric and gynecologic care. Winnie Palmer Hospital has been recognized as an Academic Center of Excellence in minimally invasive surgery. Its highly-trained physicians utilize the most advanced technology to effectively treat the vast majority of gynecologic conditions with fewer complications and faster recoveries. The hospital also includes comprehensive fetal diagnostics, labor and delivery services, maternal intensive care, and the largest center for neonatal intensive care in the world. Annually, more than 13,000 babies are expected to be born at Winnie Palmer Hospital, making it one of the busiest in the country. The hospital also ranks in the top 10 percent nationally for patient satisfaction. To learn more, visit or