For the past 20 years, André has celebrated his birthday with the ICU Neonatal team

Born premature, he spent his first 47 days of life in Pequeno Príncipe’s Intensive Care Unit

André Sester Retorta celebrated his 20th birthday on the 29th of June. However, the festivities began a week before, with friends he met on his first and challenging day of life: Pequeno Príncipe Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team. And it’s been this way every day since then: the young man and his family make a point of bringing a cake to the team that took care of André during his first 47 days of life. “You battled this along with me. I am so grateful for all the dedication you had with me and so many other children,” declared André as he cut the cake.

André’s mother, Mirian Sester Retorta, caught toxoplasmosis during her pregnancy. André was born practically without life, had to be resuscitated and was immediately transferred to Pequeno Príncipe’s Neonatal ICU. The Hospital’s staff exchanged information with doctors in England and together the medical team came to a conclusion about André’s diagnosis. “He was suffering from a side effect of the medication I took to fight the toxoplasmosis. Because of that, he was a significant deficiency of blood platelets,” shared Mirian. With a diagnosis, he began a treatment that quickly began to show results. But there was still the fear of possible consequences of toxoplasmosis, such as deafness.

“He spent 47 days in the ICU and an entire year in the Hospital. His first birthday was here and because of that, we decided to bring a cake the following year as a form of saying thank you. And we’ve been doing that for 20 years now,” his mother recalls.

“People usually think of the ICU as a bad place, but we had a very different experience. We are still friends with the people we met there and now we have a beautiful story of resilience,” shared André’s father, José Retorta Garcia. Today, André studies Economy at university and works at a company that handles cargo and shipping.

Click here and see André’s 20th birthday celebration with the ICU Neonatal team.

Neonatal ICU

Pequeno Príncipe Hospital’s Neonatal ICU was inaugurated in 1991. It has 20 beds and deals with extremely complex cases. It has just formed a partnership to develop a telemedicine project with Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., considered one of the 10 best children’s hospitals in the United States and that has one of the best Neonatal ICUs in the country.

On one side, there will be Pequeno Príncipe’s team working at the bedside of our little patients, with high definition cameras, showing all of the instruments that monitor this child, as well as all the data required. On the other side, Children’s National Hospital’s medical staff will discuss alternative paths or will endorse the current treatment.

The premature babies treated by Pequeno Príncipe’s ICU come from different maternities with surgical or clinical cases. The service also treats babies that aren’t premature, that have diseases that haven’t been diagnosed by other services or specifically referred for surgical malformation treatment, progressive neurological, renal, cardiac or abdominal diseases and complex neurological surgeries that require reoperations, among other serious illnesses.

“We would like to provide the best treatment, with extreme high quality and less hospitalization time. We seek technological innovations and new medical practices to achieve the goal of restoring the patient’s health,” emphasized Silmara Possas, Pequeno Príncipe Hospital’s Neonatal ICU coordinator.


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