Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit opens at Palmetto Health Richland

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A critical unit is opening for patients requiring critical care.

Palmetto Health Richland opened its Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (NCISU) on Friday. The unit will house patients who have had complex neurosurgical procedures, complications from strokes, traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries.

For those who have undergone brain surgery, like Debby Rapp, the opening is a welcome new addition.

"When you have brain surgery or a brain injury you need that quiet environment," Rapp said. "So this is really a blessing to the community to have an ICU like this."

Rapp is an infection preventionist at Palmetto Health Richland. A brain tumor was the last thing she was expecting in September 2016.  She said her recovery in the temporary neuro-ICU at the time was an entirely different experience than the ICU she was placed in immediately following her surgery.

"It was totally different. It was dimly lit, it was quiet."

Those qualities, Rapp told WIS, were critical to her recovery. Doctors agree.

"We understand the differences in treatment that is required for these kinds of patients," said Roham Moftakhar, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at Palmetto Health Richland and medical director of Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group Neurosurgery.

"And we are glad to fill a gap in medical care that exists in our community. We have the facilities and expertise to ensure the patients receive the best care."

Physicians said units like these have been associated with lower mortality and shorter hospital stays for patients who need specialized care. The unit houses 16 beds on the hospital's 9th floor.

For information about the NSICU or Palmetto Health Neuroscience, go to or call (803)-434-8323.

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