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"Excellent Obstetric and Newborn Care Inspires Couples' Donation"

Following what had been an apparently healthy and uneventful pregnancy – the first for her mom, Michelle, Katie B. made a very dramatic entrance into this world.

Reprinted with permission from Celebrate Philanthropy, a publication of the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center Foundation

Michelle, with her husband, Jason, at her side, had a seizure immediately before delivering Katie, who was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Katie’s initial Apgar score was a 1 (Apgar scores rate a baby’s appearance, pulse, responsiveness, muscle activity and breathing, each with a number between 0 and 2. The numbers are totaled, and 10 is considered a perfect Apgar score.)

“We went from having four people in the room to about 12 in a matter of moments,” Jason said. “Half the team was assisting the obstetrician with Michelle, who had another seizure after delivery, while half worked on Katie, who they then rushed to the NICU.”

Jason stayed with Michelle until she stabilized, then, about an hour after her birth, went to the NICU to see his daughter.

“By then, she looked like a normal, healthy baby,” he said. “Her color was good, and she was crying. Dr. Te (Minda Te, MD) was the first person who talked to me in the NICU. She was very comforting – soft-spoken but obviously very knowledgeable. She explained Katie’s progression, pointed out a lot of the positive signs she saw and explained the neurological tests Katie would need. I remember thinking that it was getting late, but Dr. Te didn’t seem to be in any rush to leave. Katie was born at about 3 p.m., and Dr. Te stayed with her into the evening.”

Michelle didn’t get to see Katie until the following afternoon. By then, things were looking much better for both mother and daughter.

“We were still very concerned about Katie, but everyone in the NICU really helped put us at ease,” Jason said. “Dr. Te was available every time we went in there. In fact, it felt like she sought us out. We never had to go looking for her. She seemed eager to give us updates and answer our questions. The nurses were all very good too – very positive and calming. Everyone let us know exactly what to expect when Katie had to have tests and shared information with us as soon as it was available.”

The Bissells’ experience at St. V’s, and particularly in interacting with Dr. Te, inspired them to make a donation to the hospital through the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center Foundation.

“Without the grace of God, who worked through Dr. Te, I don’t think we’d be here today, smiling,” Jason said. “Katie’s birthday was a very traumatic day. Everything went from so right to so wrong, so quickly. But, we just knew we were in the right place to take care of both of them.”

Katie spent a total of four days in the NICU at Mercy Children's Hospital. Today, she is a happy, healthy toddler who has just mastered potty training, is learning to swim and loves to visit the library. She shows no ill effects from her dramatic delivery.

“We were just so happy with the care we were given and with the results,” Michelle said as she explained their motivation in making a donation to the Foundation, which she and Jason did in honor of Dr. Te. “We just wanted to give something back and hopefully help another family experience the joy we have had with our daughter.”

Dr. Te, who has worked in the NICU at St. V’s Children’s since 2001, was surprised to learn she had made such an incredible impression on the Bissells that they decided to honor her with a donation to the Foundation.

“When Tony Werner (president of St. V’s Foundation) first told me about such a gift, I was really shocked,” she said. “I feel humbled but gratified at the same time.”

Dr. Te was thrilled with the Bissells choice of a charitable contribution in her honor, as she also has been a long-time supporter of the Foundation.

“The Foundation has the ability and discretion to support projects that the hospital may not have the budget for,” Dr. Te said. “These projects – such as the initiative in providing maternal and child palliative care to infants with chronic and life-threatening illnesses – are essential in providing better and holistic care to our patients.”

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