By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dr. Melissa Riley keeps a close eye on Phoenix Mendez, who was born 9 weeks premature. She began her life on a ventilator, at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“As true premies do, they had a lot of complications,” the doctor says. “A lot of issues with feeding, infections. It takes a little time for all of those things to fix themselves and mature, so the baby can get out of the hospital.”

The baby’s parents, Amanda Clayton and Randy Mendez, say Children’s Hospital has been a life saver.

“When they life-flighted her,” Amanda says, “I actually got to choose where she went, and I picked here because this is the number one hospital around. Their reputation is the best, so I wanted the best for her. And the way they’ve responded, taking care of her, I couldn’t have asked for better.”

After spending the first four months of her life in the hospital, little Phoenix will finally get a change of scenery. She’ll be moving into the Children’s Home, and that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Phoenix has been growing at a healthy pace. But Dr. Riley says there are a few more lessons yet to be learned.

“She’s working with our speech therapist and our occupational therapist, so that will allow them to see the pattern of the baby’s sucking — to get her to really master those skills of getting the milk out of the bottle, so she can go home.”

She’s almost there, thanks to Children’s Hospital.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter