Baptist Health Paducah to dedicate the John and Loree Eckstein NICU Feb 13

January 24, 2017

When the expanded NICU opens next month at Baptist Health Paducah, it will have a new name – the John and Loree Eckstein Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

When the expanded NICU opens next month at Baptist Health Paducah, it will have a new name – the John and Loree Eckstein Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The Ecksteins provided the lead gift for the $3.2 million project.  A grand opening and dedication ceremony, followed by tours of the new unit, will begin at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, in the Larry Barton Atrium.

“We believe this expansion is critically important for our community and for the region, which is why our family wanted to be part of it,” John Eckstein said. “I am amazed at the level of care that Baptist Health can provide for these babies.”

Babies, as early as three months before their due date and as small as two pounds, can stay at Baptist Health Paducah for their neonatal intensive care, while they grow and develop.

Loree Eckstein said it is a blessing for the family to be a part of the NICU expansion. “I have had several friends through the years who needed extra care for their infants,” she said, “and it is such a comfort for them to be close to their families and friends during the weeks or even months required for their babies to grow and mature.”

The NICU, which started in 2011 in a section of the nursery on the hospital’s second floor, will almost triple in size when it moves into a new 8,000-square-foot wing on the second floor of Medical Park 2. More than 1,000 families have been served in six years.

The much larger NICU provides room to care for more babies and to give parents space for privacy and bonding, said William A. Brown, hospital president. 

“This NICU has been a lifesaver for this region, and we are pleased that the expansion can help even more families,” Brown said. “We’re humbled by the commitment of the Eckstein family to improve the health of our community. Their gift will provide an even better experience for our patients and allow us to provide them with the best care possible.”

The NICU began with six beds and is now licensed for 14 beds. Edward O’Neill, MD, University of Louisville-affiliated neonatologist serving the Paducah NICU, said the service had outgrown its original space. 

“Our new space allows for more privacy and bonding during this critical time in a new baby’s life and, because it was designed especially for this purpose, it is more convenient and comfortable for families during these extended stays,” he said.

The new NICU includes:

  • Six private rooms for the most critical babies, including two large enough for twins or triplets.
  • Six private midsized rooms for less critical babies.
  • Six additional bays for babies needing observation. 
  • Special rooms for breastfeeding, including a breast milk preparation room and a private lactation room.
  • Rooms for respiratory, physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Baptist Health Foundation Paducah announced a $10 million capital campaign earlier this month to support cancer, cardiac and maternity care, as well as outreach programs to improve the health of the community. “Celebrating Miracles, Transforming Lives,” the first-ever comprehensive capital campaign in the 64-year history of Baptist Health Paducah, has already raised $7.5 million.

For more information or to make a donation to the “Celebrating Miracles, Transforming Lives” campaign, contact the Foundation at 270.575.2871 or visit