Norman hospital adjusts to meet needs of newborns

The HealthPlex hospital in Norman has added labor and delivery rooms and used a special grant to outfit them to meet the needs of an increase in births since the May 20 tornado.
From Staff Reports Published: March 20, 2014
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Since the May 20 tornado destroyed Moore Medical Center, the HealthPlex hospital in Norman has had an increase in births — up to 60 more per month, officials say.

To accommodate the overflow of maternity patients from Moore, the hospital at Interstate 35 and Tecumseh Road is using five additional hospital rooms for labor and delivery patients and has used a grant from a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization to outfit the rooms.

AmeriCares awarded more than $130,000 in funding to the Norman Regional Health Foundation to allow the Norman Regional Health System to buy equipment for the additional maternity rooms and one operating room, said Susie Graves, director of patient care for the health system.

Money was used for new bassinets, oxygen machines and monitors, as well as Panda Warmers to help newborns regulate body temperature, Graves said. The hospital also acquired an additional monitor to measure a newborn’s vital signs after a caesarean section.

“Thanks to AmeriCares, everything the staff needs is right there in the room during a delivery. There is no more shuffling equipment or moving patients to better-equipped rooms. It just elevates the quality of care,” she said.

The number of births at the HealthPlex has increased from 220 per month to as many as 280 per month since the destruction of the Moore Medical Center’s Family Birth Center five miles away.

Construction of a new, $29 million Moore Medical Center is expected to begin this spring, but the new facility won’t have a maternity unit when it opens in 2016. All labor and delivery services for the area will be provided at the HealthPlex.

The Norman Regional Health System includes the HealthPlex, Moore Medical Center and Norman Regional Hospital.