JERSEY CITY, NJ — Medical staff at Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) this week marked a significant milestone for the hospital’s maternity center, home to Hudson County’s top Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The facility has gone seven years without a Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI) in one of its neonatal patients.

The Level III NICU at JCMC provides services to newborns in need of specialized and intensive care — primarily infants born prematurely, but also those who are born with cardiac or respiratory issues, congenital anomalies, or other complications. In some instances, a central line, also called a central venous catheter, must be used to deliver intravenous fluids, nutrition, or medicine to infants.

“These babies are obviously quite small and fragile, and the risk of infection can pose serious complications,” said Ameth Aguirre MD, MPH, FAAP, who serves as Medical Director of NICU and Newborn Services at JCMC. “For this reason, we take both the placement and the maintenance of central lines very seriously.”

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Dr. Aguirre cited the NICU’s stringent hygiene and sterilization policies among the reasons for this notable milestone. All staff observe strict protocols for thorough and frequent hand-washing and sanitization. “We also have strict criteria in place to determine which patients are eligible for central line placement,” he said. “This helps ensure that we only place lines in newborns who truly need it, and we quickly remove the lines when they are no longer necessary.”

“We know of no other hospital that has achieved this extraordinary milestone, adding to our history of firsts,” added Leah Dungee, MSN, RNC-NIC, Director of Nursing for Maternal Child Services. “For example, we are the first and only hospital in the region to offer the NICVIEW system, a webcam that provides family members with a real-time streaming view of their infant in the NICU.”

“Jersey City Medical Center’s NICU is the only provider of complex specialized newborn care in Hudson County, and this remarkable achievement is a testament to the dedication of our talented and skilled staff,” said Michael Prilutsky, President and CEO of JCMC. “I join our leadership team and medical staff in applauding their diligence and hard work on behalf of our smallest and most vulnerable patients.”

In 2019, the NICU at JCMC made headlines when a trained team of specialists delivered Hudson County’s first set of quintuplets. The only Level III Unit in Hudson County, the Unit is staffed by experts that include dual board-certified neonatologists and specialized neonatal intensive care nurses.