Special Homecoming with Preemie Family and Shore Neonatal Team

Happy reunion at Shore Medical Center brings staff together with a very one of the youngest babies ever born at Shore. From left is Danielle Flukey RN, Dr. Smart Uko holding Olivia Grace Koons, Ron and Andrea Koons and Jackie Egnor, RN who is also Olivia’s aunt.

July 01, 2019

It was a very special homecoming of sorts on the Shore Medical Center maternity floor Tuesday, May 14 filled with many smiles, hugs and some tears as well. The center of attention was Olivia Grace Koons, one of the smallest babies ever born at Shore.

Much to the surprise of parents Andrea and Ron Koons, Olivia decided to enter the world very early. Both Andrea and Ron agreed that when they walked into the Shore Emergency Dept. August 16, 2017 they were not quite ready for all that was about to happen but said the right people were in the right place to help them.

Dr. Smart Uko, Director of Neonatology at Shore Medical Center was on duty the day Olivia decided she wanted to arrive. Maternity nurse Danielle Flukey, RN was also working. She said because Andrea Koons was only in her 24th week of pregnancy and at risk for complications, Cooper Hospital was contacted and the plan was to send the soon-to-be mother there.

But Olivia had other plans and they included arriving at Shore before the team from Cooper could. Dr. Uko delivered Olivia. The newborn weighed-in at 1.5 lbs. “Dr. Uko and the nurses remained calm and helped us so much, I get choked up just talking about it,” said Andrea Koons.

Olivia’s father, Ron Koons chased the now 21-month old down the hall and as he scooped his daughter up in his arms said, “We read the information on preemies and all the statistics were bad. We were scared but everyone jumped right into action.”

Due to her fragile condition, the helicopter arrived at Shore and Olivia was flown to the University of Pennsylvania where she spent the next 152 days in the hospital before the parents would be able to bring their daughter to their Egg Harbor Township home. She had experienced a bi-lateral grade 4 brain bleed according to Ron Koons who added that he was told by the physicians there that Olivia may never walk or talk. “She surely beat those odds,” said her father. Andrea Koons called her daughter, our miracle baby.

Dr. Uko bent to say hello to his former patient and was all smiles as she took the stethoscope from around his neck and put it into her own ears. “She is not doing just well for her age, she is ahead in some things for her age like problem solving, said Dr. Uko, “That is a wonderful sign.”

The neonatologist, who is with Onsite Neonatology at Shore Medical Center talked about what he does when a baby arrives so early like Olivia did that day saying that they work as a team to support the newborn for the best possible outcome. “This is a very tough job but I am so happy that I am doing it and getting to see beautiful babies and their families come back to share with us how they are doing. It is wonderful to see Olivia and her family.”