Luis’ Story

The preemie that continued to grow

Luis Gennaro Sabater was born premature at just 24 weeks gestation, weighing only 1lb. 5oz. Luis is a former micro-preemie who spent 161 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital. Throughout Luis’ journey, his mom, Shannon, says she received overwhelming support from the staff at Mount Sinai.

Shannon explains that there are two sides to the NICU. “There is one where you are extremely scared and anxious. Constantly worried for your baby’s health while you await the results from countless tests and procedures. However, there is another side. This side includes support from nurses like Gabrielle Maccariello, RN, Anna Guzman, RN, and Bianca Russo, RN, who cared for Luis like he was their own.”

Shannon says doctors like Veniamin Ratner, MD, and Minso Kim, MD, went out of their way to make sure their family understood what was happening and tried to ease their fears whenever possible. “Luis has been a little fighter since birth. He started as a tiny preemie. It was tricky to help Luis gain weight because he used so much of his energy to breathe. When he finally weighed 1kg (2.2lbs), the whole team celebrated because every milestone mattered for Luis. It was a true pleasure to take care of Luis. I am proud of Luis and his parents for staying strong throughout his journey,” said Dr. Kim.

Shannon expresses particular gratitude towards their social worker, Molly Roberts, MSW, who was instrumental in helping their family navigate the NICU and was always there to listen and guide them through the whole experience.

Shannon describes her gratitude for so many members of the NICU team including Chaplin Sophia Levin, MDiv, MA, who prayed with Luis and brought their family so much peace, music therapist Lauren Fagan MS, LCAT-LP, MT-BC of the Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy, who sang to Luis during his feedings, and the Child Life Services team who took pictures of Luis every week to capture all of his milestones, big and small. Although it was a long road, Shannon says she is so grateful. “[Mt. Sinai] saved my baby's life, and today he is 9 months old, weighing 15.8 lb. I will continue to do all my follow-up care at Mount Sinai because I trust them to give my baby the absolute best medical care possible.”