After Jalisa Reed gave birth to her fourth child, Janelle, the joyous moment of welcoming their baby girl was quickly overshadowed by the realization that she’d been born with a cleft palate.
Right away, Janelle was moved to Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she could be seen by our cleft and craniofacial team. This team is an American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association accredited program. It provides a specialized, interdisciplinary and family-centered approach to treat patients with craniofacial conditions.
It became clear that Janelle’s cleft and recessed tongue issues were preventing her from getting the early nutrition she needed.
“I had never known anyone personally who went through this,” Jalisa shares. “It was scary at first dealing with a newborn who had a special condition that made it difficult for her to even eat.”
Later, she met with Sharline Aboutanos, MD, and her team, who put Jalisa’s worries and fears at ease.
“Dr. Aboutanos and her team answered every question I had, and they would often call to check in on how we were doing,” Jalisa shares. “When I was around them, I didn’t feel like Janelle was just another patient. I knew they really cared about her. They were our saviors through this whole process and without them, I don’t know how we would have been able to get through it.”
Janelle’s successful surgery to repair the cleft, as well as her lengthy hospital stay, were made possible by the Bon Secours Foundation. Our foundation proudly helps patients like Janelle get the health care they need, regardless of financial circumstances.
During the two-week stay in the NICU, Jalisa says that she felt a huge amount of comfort in her daughter’s care thanks to our foundation’s support.
“It eased our worries a lot, especially when we were going through a tremendous experience like surgery on our baby,” Jalisa states.
Now the Reed family continues to manage Janelle’s ongoing care and are so grateful for the support and care from our cleft and craniofacial team.