Parents never want to need a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) when they are welcoming their new baby into the world. But for those who have a sick baby who needs care, Elliot Hospital’s NICU team is a welcome and comforting resource.

Throughout the state of New Hampshire, Elliot Hospital is only one of two facilities with specially trained providers who can treat preterm infants as early as 23 weeks gestation up through infants born after their due date. Elliot’s NICU treats babies who are transferred from other hospitals throughout the state—about two-thirds of the babies who are transported to Elliot Hospital are critically ill. Baby Osman was one of those young patients who needed help right away.


Baby Osman’s First Days

Osman in the NICU


When Osman was born on August 31, 2021 in Portsmouth at 41 weeks, he developed signs of respiratory distress, due to taking amniotic fluid with meconium, an early form of stool, into his lungs. When the Elliot NICU team got a call to pick up baby Osman within a few hours after his birth, they responded right away.

“Osman was working hard to breathe when we picked him up in Portsmouth. Our transport team are providers with specialized training, and they were able to give Osman medication and oxygen to help him breathe better before he got back to the Elliot,” said Dr. Matthew Ryzewski, neonatologist with Elliot Health System. “We put him on a special ventilator in our NICU as soon as he arrived, but during that first day, Osman still was not getting enough oxygen. An ultrasound of his heart showed that there was elevated pressure in the blood vessels in his lungs which was making it difficult for him to get enough oxygen. Fortunately, we can offer an effective treatment, nitric oxide, right away. Time was of the essence, and we were ready.”

Osman continued with the inhaled nitric oxide therapy for seven days. On the eighth day, his breathing tube was removed, and five days later, he was off all oxygen and breathing comfortably on his own. He was safe.

Willy, Osman’s father, said, “When I was at Elliot Hospital, I knew we were in the right place—it was magical. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I was in shock when I saw the tubes that Osman had all over his body. But the team made me feel confident. They helped me to listen when I needed to, and they made us feel like we were all family. My wife and I both feel this way.”

Elliot’s NICU team provides an outpatient follow up clinic for babies who need to be monitored for growth and neurological development. Osman recently had his first clinic visit, and he is now just over seven months old. He’s thriving and doing very well.

Willy said, “There are no words to express my gratitude to the team at the Elliot. I am so happy to be able to share our experience with other families. I want other parents and parents-to-be to know that it’s possible to make it through these difficult situations with the help of the amazing doctors and nurses at Elliot Hospital.”