Maury Regional NICU welcomes back special visitors


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — In October of 2006, the first baby was admitted to the newly opened neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Maury Regional Medical Center. Almost 17 years later, that baby — now a high schooler — and his family have an even greater connection with the hospital where he spent his first few weeks.

On July 4, parents Bryan and Bridget Zaidan and older brother Jordan took baby Laikyn home from Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) for the first time.

Laikyn was born June 26, five weeks premature, and she spent several days in the care of the specialists in the NICU. While a stay in the NICU can be difficult for any baby’s parents, the Zaidans had good reason to believe Laikyn was in excellent hands.

Jordan was born on Oct. 9, 2006, at MRMC two months premature. He was the first baby ever admitted to the NICU at MRMC, which officially opened on Oct. 16, 2006.

The care Jordan received in the NICU gave the Zaidans confidence Laikyn would have the same experience — especially considering she was under the care of the same physician, Donna Whitney, MD, a specialist in neonatology on the Maury Regional medical staff.

“It definitely feels like déjà vu,” Bryan said. “It obviously worked out well the first time, and we had full faith this time would be the same. It’s convenient, confident care here. For us, it was relieving that we knew what was coming, and we had a level of confidence that we knew she was getting good care.”

Being able to hold Laikyn in the NICU was a fulfilling moment for Jordan, who turns 17 this year and is a rising junior at Spring Hill High School.

“It was exciting — she kept giving me a side-eye and funny looks,” he said. “It does give me some pride that she was born here.”

It also was a special moment for Dr. Whitney, who’s seen the NICU at MRMC grow drastically since she cared for Jordan way back in 2006.

Photo of Dr. Donna Whitney, Jordan and Laikyn Zaidan.
Jordan Zaidan and his baby sister, Laikyn, with Donna Whitney, MD, at Maury Regional Medical Center.

“It’s always very rewarding to see patients that have graduated and been in our care doing well in the world,” Dr. Whitney said. “It really is an honor to serve our patients in this community. That was our goal in having the NICU here, so that patients can be cared for closer to home.”

The NICU at MRMC is a Level II neonatal intensive care unit with providers certified in many clinical specialties, including neonatology physicians and neonatal nurse practitioners provided by Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Specialized care is provided to newborns with a wide variety of health conditions, such as prematurity, respiratory problems and infections.

In the 17 years since opening the unit, the specialists in the NICU at MRMC have operated with a dedication to providing the best and most compassionate care possible. That didn’t go unnoticed by the Zaidans.

“Dr. Whitney and all of the nurses in the NICU were all so amazing,” Bridget said. “Just knowing that every day [Laikyn] was very well taken care of and that they had answers to any questions I had made me feel better as a new mother, and we appreciate everything they did for her.”

MRMC has been recognized with a “BEST for Babies” award from the Tennessee Hospital Association four consecutive years. It also earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Perinatal Care Certification.

The fourth floor of the medical center is entirely dedicated to childbirth and gynecological care, offering spacious suites where mothers can experience labor, delivery and recovery in comfort and privacy. The MRMC Mother/Baby Unit also practices couplet care, allowing babies to room-in with their mothers to enhance the early bonding experience.

For more information about the NICU and other childbirth services offered at MRMC, visit

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