NEWS | July 3, 2019

Mom gives thanks for NICU team that saved her son

(SACRAMENTO)

Ask Charlotte Barbee about her son Josiah and she’ll smile. She says the outgoing boy likes playing basketball, telling jokes, and performing music at church on Sundays. He’s the baby of the family, the youngest of three.

Charlotte Barbee with baby Josiah Charlotte Barbee with baby Josiah

Twelve years after his birth, Charlotte easily remembers visiting the doctor in Elk Grove for an ultrasound on June 23, 2007.  She was in her 37th week of pregnancy and everything had been going well.

But within an hour of the ultrasound, doctors said it was urgent that she deliver the baby. Charlotte, who was expecting a routine appointment, had an emergency c-section.

A full minute after Josiah was delivered, the infant’s breathing and pulse were virtually undetectable. Doctors and nurses worked quickly to place tubes down Josiah’s throat. Charlotte remembers the doctors telling her that Josiah had a 30 percent chance of survival and needed specialized care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU.

Josiah was transferred to what Charlotte knew to be one of the best NICUs in the country – at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. She was a UC Davis Health employee.  

The NICU at UC Davis Children’s Hospital was Josiah’s home for the next eight weeks. A team of top-flight doctors and nurses diagnosed Josiah’s health problems, developed a plan to treat them, and helped him build his strength.

Charlotte remembers doctors who specialized in the care of infant brains, lungs and hearts. She also remembers the nurses.

Neonatology badge
UC Davis Children's Hospital ranked 30th nationally in neonatology in the 2019-2020 US News & World Report "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.
Read more.

“All of the nurses in the NICU and the Pediatrics floor were angels,” she said.

This combination of top expertise, wide range of medical specialties, and a caring environment for children and their families are hallmarks of UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Doctors ultimately determined that Josiah suffered from a condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension. It’s a serious breathing problem that happens when a baby’s blood doesn’t flow the way it should, depriving organs of oxygen and leading to several health problems. 

Josiah was kept warm and given oxygen until his circulatory system could adapt on its own. Charlotte remembers watching Josiah gain strength at UC Davis. She remembers getting to hold him for the first time on July 4 – nearly two weeks after delivering him. A few weeks later, Josiah was strong enough to go home.

For Charlotte and Josiah, leaving a NICU wasn’t the end. It was the beginning of a relationship with UC Davis Children’s Hospital, as specialists continued to care for Josiah for years.

Today, Josiah still gets his care at UC Davis. “My son is here because of the care he received here,” said Barbee.