Meet 2014 NICU Hero Neonatologist Dr. Stewart Lawrence

September 30, 2014

Hand to Hold and Mead Johnson Nutrition are pleased to award $2,500 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of the service and care given by Dr. Stewart Lawrence of Mountain States Neonatology, an affiliate of Pediatrix Medical Group, and who practices at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Lawrence is a true NICU hero and was nominated by NICU parent Sophie Carney after the birth of her twins. (Read her story.)

Dr. Stewart LawrenceWhy are you a neonatologist?

I was first attracted to NICU medicine by the crisis aspects of this unique healthcare, the opportunity to improve an infant’s outcome quickly and decisively.  Over time, however, I have grown to value and appreciate the daily opportunities to avoid unexpected crises and poor outcomes by continually focusing on every aspect of NICU healthcare, from optimal nutrition to helping critically ill babies rest comfortably between necessary care interventions.

Can you describe the rewards of NICU medicine, as well as its challenges?

Every time I am able to send home a once tiny, extremely premature baby, now growing and thriving beautifully, with his or her mom and dad to really begin their family lives together in earnest. I feel truly gratified and privileged to have been a part of their lives, even if only for a brief time.

My most challenging NICU experiences have been providing critical care to infants with severe, irreparable birth defects and the emotional support to those infants’ families during their personal journeys of grief, understanding and acceptance. I continue to strive to be the physician and human being with whom these families can communicate and relate to in their time of greatest need.

Why did you choose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as your beneficiary? What is your personal connection to it or how does its mission tie into neonatal or pediatric health?

If I had not chosen neonatology, I would have been a peds hematology-oncology physician like a mentor and close friend of mine from residency.  The people of St. Jude Children’s Hospital are the real heroes.

Support for Dr. Lawrence’s nomination

One of his fellow neonatologists Oluyemisi Oyafemi, M.D., shares Carney’s appreciation for Dr. Lawrence’s commitment to his profession. “Dr. Lawrence is an excellent physician with an overwhelming commitment to evidence-based care of his patients. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with him over the last year. He has made me strive to be a better physician,” Dr. Oyafemi says.