Date: 1/14/2014

Donation helps littlest patients

Today Nathan Splant is a healthy, happy 10 year old, stopping in to visit with the nursing team who took care of him and make a special delivery in the form of a $2,500 donation to the NICU. Nathan’s nursing team (left to right) includes Lora Brands, RN; Mary VanCuren, RNC; Cindy Hasse, RN; Kathy Dickson, RN; Patty Hinkleman, RN; Kathy Drbac, RN and Pam Krasowski, RN.

When Nathan C. Splant arrived 15 weeks prematurely on Jan. 10, 2004 in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of Community Hospital in Munster, he weighed less than 2 pounds and was 12 inches long. Today he is a healthy, happy 10-year old. Nathan’s parents — Phil and Kimberly Splant of St. John — have never forgotten the healthcare team that has made their dream of becoming a family a reality.

“If Nathan only realized what took place back then and how hard all these wonderful people worked on him,” said Nathan’s father Phil Splant. “We are glad to be able to give back to help!”

Today, the Splant family continues to enhance the lives of those touched by prematurity by delivering donations through the auspices of their foundation, The Nathan C. Splant Foundation. The foundation looks to make a significant difference in the lives of those born too early and too small through their grant giving program; special event fundraisers and Helping Hands for Preemies campaign.

Their latest donation, a check for $2,500, will help Community Hospital nurses spread the message of safe sleep practices and also provide HALO SleepSacks™ to babies in the hospital’s NICU.

Nurse educators, including Mary Puntillo, RNC-NIC, RNC-LRN, neonatal clinician at Community Hospital, have been spreading the message of safe sleeping methods for babies in an effort to move Lake County out of the position as the Indiana county with the highest number of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) deaths.

SUIDs, for the most part, are preventable and are a result of unsafe sleep practices. According to First Candle, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the survival of babies through the first years of life and a Safe to Sleep campaign collaborator, there are 4,500 SUIDs per year in the U.S. Eighty to 90 percent of those deaths are from babies sleeping in an unsafe environment.

“Safe sleep practices are taught from the get go,” Puntillo said. “We are committed to spreading the message of “baby ‘Back’ to Sleep; By Myself; in a Naked Crib.” New moms are seeing it; hearing it from the moment baby is born, and we’re teaching it in our communities with Taking Care of Baby and Grandparent classes,” Puntillo said.

“Our family couldn’t have done it without the dedication and compassion of all those involved with Nathan’s recovery — the doctors, nurses, therapists and special program aides,” Mom Kim Splant said.

In appreciation, the Splant family still returns to Community Hospital to make special deliveries on behalf of the Nathan C. Splant Foundation, the organization the family founded to honor their son and give back to others.

For more information on the Nathan C. Splant Foundation, visit

To register for upcoming Taking Care of Baby or Grandparents classes offered through the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, call 219-836-3477 or toll-free 866-836-3477.