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DANVILLE, Pa. – Faith means a lot to Amanda Greenawalt and David Sauter of Linden, Pennsylvania. So, when their child survived incredible odds and was in the midst of a lengthy Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stay, the family turned to Geisinger’s spiritual team with an important request – to find a way to baptize the baby, in spite of the pandemic.

The couple’s son, Greyson, was diagnosed with bilateral multicystic dysplastic kidneys at 16 weeks. The condition meant his kidneys meant weren’t producing the fluid needed to help his lungs grow in utero. The expectation was that he wouldn’t survive.

“They expected that he would need to go right on life support and a ventilator, but he didn’t need any of it,” Greenawalt said. “His lungs were developed, and he was crying at birth.”

Still, Greyson, who was born with poorly functioning kidneys and faced chronic renal failure, needed a great deal of care. 

Turning to NICU Chaplain the Rev. Kay Korpics, the family asked for help with a baptism that would include their family pastor. However, visitation restrictions related to the pandemic meant the pastor couldn’t enter the unit. The spiritual team at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital used technology, teamwork and creativity to find a safe way to conduct the ceremony. 

The family’s pastor performed the blessing over a Zoom video call, while Rev. Korpics performed the ritual. Other members of the care team took photos and decorated the area of the NICU while Greyson’s nurse made sure he remained medically stable. 

After a 24-day NICU stay, Greyson was finally able to go home on May 15.

“Our faith is very important to us,” Greenawalt said. “Every prayer helped. I prayed every day, several times a day,” Amanda said. “I have a strong support system through the church praying for us and the baby. I believe if it weren’t for those prayers and the excellent care in the NICU, Greyson would have never made it.”

About Geisinger

Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1.5 million consumers it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 13 hospital campuses, a 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With 32,000 employees and 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by billions of dollars annually. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

A baby is baptized in Geisinger's NICU.
Amanda Greenawalt holds her son Greyson while Rev. Kay Korpics baptizes him with a seashell full of holy water in the Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Danville.
Parents hold their newly baptized baby in the Geisinger NICU.
David Sauter and Amanda Greenawalt take part in a baptism/blessing ceremony for their son Greyson in the NICU.

Media inquires:

Mike McMullen
Communication Specialist

814-502-8998
mmmcmullen@geisinger.edu