In August of 2019, Kristie and Ryan Panchuk were busy preparing for and eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first baby. They were looking forward to the joys that come with a newborn, and it was a happy and exciting time for them and their family and friends. Kristie’s pregnancy was going perfectly and they had no worries until an ultrasound at 28 weeks identified some minor abnormalities.
On August 30th, 2019 Kristie visited the Regina General Hospital, as she was experiencing some minor spotting. Kristie underwent an ultrasound that revealed she had no amniotic fluid left and her baby was in distress. The Panchuks were also advised that their baby had calcium deposits on his kidneys and liver, and his brain dilation had increased significantly. Kristie was immediately placed on a magnesium drip and given steroid shots in hopes of developing the baby’s brain and lungs. However, the couple was told that things did not look good and doctors were uncertain if the baby could be delivered alive.
“My husband and I were completely shocked and devastated by this news.” Kristie says. “When all the previous scans showed a healthy baby, you just don’t expect or know how to process hearing something like that.”
That evening, Dr. Andrei Harbour, the neonatologist from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care, spoke to Kristie and advised that the baby should be delivered the next day in order to begin aggressive treatment of any infection. Noah David Panchuk was born on the morning of August 31st by emergency C-section at 31 weeks old. He was immediately intubated and assessed by the skilled team in our NICU. Noah was started on anti-viral medication and placed in an Omni-bed in order to control the humidity level to help heal the lesions that had formed on Noah’s skin from an infection.
“The staff in the NICU did not miss a beat in providing the absolute best care for our baby and ensuring he was comfortable and had every need met immediately.” Kristie says.
On day four in the NICU, the medical team confirmed that Noah had a viral infection that had affected his brain, heart, lungs and liver. He would go on to fight this devastating virus over the next 21 days when an MRI would then reveal that baby Noah no longer had brain function. On September 21, 2019, Kristie and Ryan would spend a beautiful day with Noah, under the guidance and care of the amazing NICU nurses. They spent the day holding him, bathing him, nurturing him and enjoying their time as a family until his final moments.
“The NICU nurses displayed such incredible expertise and compassion in caring for our son and our family. They were our advocates, our confidants and allowed us to help with all of Noah’s care,” Kristie continues. “We would not have survived three stressful weeks in the NICU and the loss of our precious son without them.”
The Panchuks are so thankful for the care that Noah and their family received in Regina. They credit the amazing nurses and doctors, as well as the cutting edge NICU technology and equipment for giving them three precious weeks with their son and moments that they will cherish forever. Working with the Foundation, they launched a fundraising web page to honor Noah and raise $25,000 for the NICU in his name. In just over a year they successfully met their goal, and a plaque will be installed in the NICU in memory of Noah.
“With the $25,000 we raised, the Foundation can secure more life-saving equipment to allow the medical teams help other families like they helped ours,” Kristie explains.
“Noah’s story is a reminder of the importance of investing in technology for our NICU.” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “While Regina’s healthcare teams provide the best care possible, it is essential that we are able to invest in new technologies for our pediatric programs to support these children and their families, right here at home!”