June 4 marked the start of a busy opening weekend for the Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum Unit at the new League City Campus Hospital. In three days, five babies were welcomed into the world by the LDRP team.
Dr. Brandy Wright, an anesthesiologist, was the first UTMB employee to have a baby at the new facility. Her son, Westbrook, was born on June 6, at 7 pounds, 11 ounces.
“I’ve seen the hospital go from empty to ready-to-go,” said Wright, who works at the League City and Galveston campuses. “I worked up until last Friday and even stocked the OR that I had my C-section in (laughs). I was a little nervous because I was due so close to the opening day. But now that I’m here, the nurses have been great, the C-section done by Dr. Perry Fulcher went fine, the pediatricians have been helpful, and I’m so impressed and happy with how everything worked out.”
Besides getting to be one of the first patients in brand new accommodations, Wright added that she appreciated the convenience of the new hospital, since she lives in nearby Friendswood.
The LCC Hospital opened with 11 birthing suites to serve the growing community and is expected to deliver more than 40 infants a month. Sandra Tadlock, an LDRP nurse, helped deliver the first baby, along with Wright’s C-section.
“It’s nice to be taking care of patients again. For a month, we were getting supplies ready and cleaning, so it’s nice to have babies being born!” said Tadlock. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
LDRP nurse manager Tandra Medellin credited Tadlock and the rest of her nursing staff with making sure everything went smoothly opening weekend, even when one of the babies had respiratory issues.
“The hospital was designed to serve ‘low-risk’ mothers, but we still have the level 3 nursery in Galveston at our fingertips if needed,” said Medellin, who added that the LDRP also includes specialty care for moms and their newborns. “We all know that low risk can turn into high risk at any minute. One of the babies needed more respiratory support, and we were completely prepared with necessary equipment, supplies and medications. Unfortunately, there was more to it, so we transferred the baby to Galveston to be with a neonatologist. Even that—a high-risk transport of a sick baby—went completely smoothly.”
Tadlock and the unit’s 21 other nurses were hired more than a year ago to work at the LCC. But because of construction delays on the new hospital, they ended up working in Galveston until recently. Medellin said all the extra training they received has been a blessing in disguise.
“Every single one of these nurses floated all over, from the Newborn Nursery, the NICU, the Mother-Baby Unit, to the Labor and Delivery Unit. They were all over the place, but they persevered and we are finally here in League City,” said Medellin. “Because of that experience, they are more than true experts in their field and have made this opening way more smooth than we could have hoped for. The nurses are so committed, and I’m so proud and impressed.”
As more babies are born at LCC, Medellin is certain that patient satisfaction scores will be exceptional. The unit provides “couplet care,” by having one nurse take care of both the mom and baby, rather than having a post-partum nurse taking care of the mom and a nursery nurse taking care of the baby.
“Since UTMB started the whole mother-baby movement and shifted the way mothers and babies are cared for more than a year ago, we’ve seen satisfaction scores creep up even more,” said Medellin. “I can’t wait to see our patient satisfaction scores. I think they will be through the roof.”