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Pomona Valley Hospital is First in the Region to Use Innovative Technology for Neonates

POMONA, Calif., Sept. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center is the first hospital in the region to use new, life-saving technology for fragile, premature infants, thanks to a $24,000 grant from the Will Rogers Institute.

Almost all premature infants are unable to breathe on their own because their lungs are not fully developed; respiratory distress is a leading cause of death for premature infants. The equipment – Neurally Adjusted Ventilator Assist with enhanced Bi-level CPAP capabilities, or NAVA – is an entirely new way of ventilating newborns. It helps babies breathe without a ventilator breathing tube inserted into their lungs, which can cause chronic lung damage and infections with prolonged use. NAVA is controlled by the electrical activity of the diaphragm and delivers air through a non-invasive face mask or nasal prongs. Because mothers can hold their infants more easily, the equipment also helps to promote mother/baby bonding, another life-saving essential for tiny newborns.

Za'riyah Johnson is the first baby to be treated at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center with NAVA. Born July 1, more than four months premature, she weighed just a pound and a half and fit in the palm of her mother's hand. Initially put on a ventilator breathing tube, she was taken off the ventilator last week and is now breathing spontaneously with assistance from NAVA. She is doing well and doctors estimate she may be able to go home as early as late October.

"I'm really glad that she's at Pomona Valley Hospital and was the first to use this new technology," said Za'riyah's mother, Margaret Lewis, 32. "It brought a sense of relief. The machine is giving her what she needs to keep breathing.  It's helped. She's growing. She's still fighting. And these are all good signs."

The hospital purchased the NAVA equipment with enhanced Bi-level CPAP capabilities through a grant awarded this year by the Will Rogers Institute Neonatal Ventilator and Pulmonary Grant Program. Located in Toluca Lake, Calif., the Will Rogers Institute provides grants to hospitals throughout the nation for the purchase of neonatal ventilator equipment and critical care pulmonary services.

"One of the primary missions of the Will Rogers Institute is to promote pulmonary healthcare issues. There is no better way to do that than to help Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center with the purchase of this vital equipment," said Jim Orr, President, Distribution at FilmDistrict and chair of the Will Rogers Institute's Neonatal Committee.

"We're extremely grateful to the Will Rogers Institute for the grant that has allowed us to pioneer use of this advanced equipment in our region," said Marty Sandoval, Respiratory Manager, Children's Services at PVHMC.  "Because of the success we've already had with the technology and the two units that were purchased, the hospital would like to acquire more of the units to provide the best, life-saving care to our tiniest and most vulnerable patients – premature newborns." 

About Pomona Valley Medical Center Hospital

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center is a 453-bed, acute care, nationally accredited hospital serving the greater Pomona Valley.  It is one of only 332 hospitals in the country to be named a recipient of the HealthGrades 2012 Outstanding Patient Experience Award.  PVHMC has also been recognized nationally as a 2011 Thomson Reuters 50 Top Cardio Vascular Hospital (nationally). The Hospital has been a four-time recipient of Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals in the past 16 years.  For more information please visit our web site at

About The Will Rogers Institute

The Will Rogers Institute is a program of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, a charity named after one of the greatest humanitarians, philanthropists and entertainers that ever lived, Will Rogers. Originally a hospital for tuberculosis-stricken Vaudevillians, The Will Rogers Memorial Hospital (established in 1936) became a national training facility for doctors treating patients with tuberculosis. Building on that foundation, the Will Rogers Institute is today a national charitable health program focused on research of debilitating lung disorders, medical school training fellowships, distribution of free health education materials to the general public. The Institute recently became a national leader in providing lifesaving neonatal ventilator equipment to hospitals across the country. For more information, visit

SOURCE Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center
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