Region’s First Obstetrics Emergency Department Now Open at St. Mary

StMaryBy Staff Reports

(Apple Valley)– St. Joseph Health, St. Mary has opened the region’s first Obstetrics Emergency Department in the High Desert, providing expectant mothers and newborns with their own emergency care specific for women who are more than 20 weeks pregnant.

Referred to as the OB ED, this new unit will – along with St. Mary’s other neonatal services – relieve expectant mothers from traveling or being transported down the hill for obstetrics related emergency care.

“This is a milestone that our Labor & Delivery team has been working toward for months, and provides a convenient and fast way for expectant mothers who are more than 20 weeks pregnant to be evaluated and treated by an obstetrician that is readily available in the Labor and Delivery unit 24 hours a day seven days a week,” said Rosa Ortega-Tucker, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services for St. Mary.

The OB ED replaces the labor and delivery nurse triage for patients presenting to the department with potential complications of pregnancy, and converts emergency services for pregnant women to a department that works in conjunction with the main emergency department. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) granted approval to convert four of the seven existing triage beds into OB ED beds at the end of 2016.

For women who would normally arrive to labor and delivery for emergencies after 20 weeks, an OB-ED offers them a chance to see a laborist 24/7, have their questions answered quickly and see that they are treated and released in a timely fashion.

This new benefit at St. Mary comes on the heels of the Medical Center receiving the area’s only California Children’s Services (CCS) designation for its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), introducing a full time Obstetrical Laborist program, and unveiling a partnership with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) for its doctors to provide neonatology services in the NICU.

CHOC ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals by US News & World Report in 2015 and was the first children’s hospital in the US to earn the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.

Combined, these unique services are provided to ensure that local expectant mothers can receive all the care they need at St. Mary with no need for stressful transfers to hospitals out of the area for specialty care.

“The OB ED is one more benefit making St. Mary the best and safest place to have a baby in the High Desert,” Ortega-Tucker said.

About St. Joseph Health, St. Mary

Established in 1956, St. Joseph Health, St. Mary is a 212-bed acute care medical center that is home to the High Desert’s premier comprehensive cardiovascular surgery program. The medical center is fully accredited by The Joint Commission. St. Mary is part of St. Joseph Health, which is a non-profit, faith-based health care delivery organization serving California, Texas and New Mexico. In Southern California, its hospitals include Mission Hospital with campuses in Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach; St. Joseph Hospital in Orange; St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton and St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, along with St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare and home health care services. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, St. Joseph Health strives to achieve its mission by realizing three strategic goals: Sacred Encounters, Perfect Care and Healthiest Communities.

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