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Oakland Children’s Hospital provides ongoing care to premature babies

on December 15, 2015

“World Prematurity Day,” a day devoted to raising awareness for preterm births every November 17, is a milestone for the babies born before their due dates at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. One young mother, Maria Sandoval, and her son are among the lucky ones, thanks to the follow-up care of the hospital and its social worker, Maria Sandoval Chela Rios Muñoz.

Sandoval gave birth to her son, Jose Daniel, about a year ago, weeks ahead of the 37 week marker, which put Daniel under the “premature” label. Born at 28 weeks, he had a large blood clot in his heart that was discovered a week and a half after his birth and had to undergo open heart surgery a few weeks later, with the Children’s Hospital Oakland staff treating (and later operating) on the baby every step of the way.

In addition to providing care for Daniel, the hospital went several steps further and not only reassured Sandoval that both she and the baby would be fine and healthy in no time, but also brought Muñoz into her life. As a social worker for the hospital’s — and the Alameda County Public Health Department’s — “Special Start Program,” Muñoz will continue to aid Sandoval and her baby for up to three years psychosocially, medically and developmentally. Two of many hurdles Muñoz helped Sandoval navigate were finding a nutritionist and preparing to put Daniel in pre-school.

Sandoval’s baby shows just a glimpse of what preemies endure after coming into the world, and what life may become — with help — for a healthy and rambunctious one year old.

Video directed, produced, and narrated by: Agatha Kereere
Shot by: Charlotte Jacquemart


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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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