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Toddler named after Emory reunites with NICU nurses at birthday bash

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Alysia Satchel
Senior Manager, Media Relations
Emory Hammonds’ mother delivered him at 24 weeks and he spent more than eight months hospitalized. He weighed only one pound at birth. Emory’s parents say they named him after the hospital because of the incredible care he received from the nurses and staff.

A two-year-old boy and his family reunited with nurses from Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a birthday celebration on July 10.

Emory Hammonds’ parents say they named their son after Emory Johns Creek Hospital (EJCH) because of the incredible care they received from doctors, nurses and staff two years ago.

"His name means brave, powerful and strong," Hammonds says. "Our experience here at the hospital and the meaning of his name made it a perfect fit."

Ashanté Hammonds says she arrived at Emory Johns Creek Hospital at 22 weeks when her amniotic sac began to leak. Hammonds says doctors told her because she didn’t have enough amniotic fluid in her womb, there was a serious chance her son would not survive.

"My stomach transformed from having a baby bump, to looking as flat as a table," Hammonds says.

Doctors performed an emergency cesarean section on Hammonds at 24 weeks to deliver her son, Emory. He weighed only one pound, 11 ounces.

Emory spent more than eight months hospitalized – half at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. He was transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where he received a feeding tube and tracheostomy and stayed for another four months.

Emory has overcome incredible odds, and his nurses saw him make it through big hurdles during his hospital stay.

"I remember him being so small, he could literally fit into the palm of your hands," says Brenda Thomas, RN-C. "There was a very slim chance he could make it through…but being the fighter that he is, he did it."

Karen Lacy, RN, says Emory faced many ups and downs with his health along the way.

"He gave us a run for our money on many nights," Lacy says.

Emory’s parents say his doctors and therapists are impressed about the progress he’s made.

"He went from needing blood transfusions, being dependent on a ventilator and a feeding tube to now eating by mouth and we’re going through capping trials in order to one day get his trach removed," Hammonds says.

Lacy says it’s been amazing to see Emory meet milestones and she says he really stands for what EJCH is all about.

"We focus on caring for and loving someone so small, especially when they’re facing some of their toughest obstacles," Lacy says.

Throughout all the challenges, Hammonds says her family, friends, and faith carried her through.

"I just had faith in God and trusted that everything would work out, "Hammonds says.

For more information on Emory Johns Creek Hospital and the NICU, visit or call 678-474-8200.

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