A Promising Partnership
An update on the teacher who made history and the doctor who made it possible.
It’s clear that Janet Udomratsak is no ordinary teacher, and Martin Cooper, MD, is no ordinary physician.
Last summer, when Janet was admitted to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center for pregnancy complications, she had little idea her hospital room would soon become her classroom as well. The Sylmar teacher was experiencing contractions at just 20 weeks, and would need to remain on hospital bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy.
Undaunted, Janet got clearance from her medical team — including her OB/GYN, Dr. Cooper — to teach her first-grade class remotely from her private hospital room at Providence Holy Cross. She set up an ingenious makeshift classroom using her rolling food tray table as a desk.
“I was in the hospital for 71 days,” said Janet. “Dr. Cooper gave me pep talks every single day when he walked in. I delivered at 34 weeks and was able to go home four days later.” Her new baby boy, James, spent nearly a month in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Providence Holy Cross Medical Center offers a Level III NICU, one of the only facilities in our service area to provide this level of specialized care for premature and ill newborns.
“Providence Holy Cross usually delivers around 300 babies a month,” Dr. Cooper remarked. “I average about 20 to 30 a month. It’s the most fun part of the job!”
An increasing number of babies are being delivered at just 24—25 weeks, often requiring months of neonatal care. In response to this rising demand, Providence Holy Cross Foundation has launched its $6.4 million Little Miracles NICU Expansion Initiative.
The expansion includes additional specialized incubator beds and significantly increasing the physical space of the NICU itself. With the help of our community, the medical center hopes to outfit the unit with the most advanced technology available — and to incorporate leading-edge treatments and procedures that promote the healthy development of our youngest patients.
Today, baby James is nearly six months old. And thanks to the care he received at Providence Holy Cross — and all the love from his family — he’s thriving. “I love Dr. Cooper and all the nurses here,” said Janet. “They make you feel like family.”
Janet is teaching from home, and looks forward to meeting her next first-grade class in person when schools reopen next fall.
Dr. Cooper, meanwhile, suffered a heart attack last September in the middle of two deliveries and sought treatment right here at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. “They did the greatest job,” he said. “I would not go anywhere else.”
Janet agrees. “I love Holy Cross!” she said. “I trust everyone here. I know if anything were to happen, this is the first place I would go.”
Dr. Cooper is enthusiastic about the NICU’s expansion and other initiatives. “If you’re going to give, you give from the heart,” he said. “You give because it’s the correct thing to do. And this cause is a very worthy one.”
To learn more about how you can support the Little Miracles Initiative at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, please contact Michelle Koenig Barritt, chief philanthropy officer, at 818-496-4576 or at Michelle.Barritt@providence.org.
Together, we can provide care that transforms lives, now and for years to come.