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Women: look no further for quality care

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Women within MUSC’s own family of staff, faculty and students have been holding onto a secret.
MUSC’s female employees and other Lowcountry women, who are within their child-bearing years, do not need to look elsewhere than MUSC to experience quality care for soon-to-be moms. MUSC Women’s Health Center has a proven track record, a dedicated team of professionals and full range of services for women needing high tech ultrasound and high-risk obstetrics care, prenatal testing, specialized gynecological and reproductive health services.
The program follows a family-centered approach to care where newborns stay at mom’s bedside, according to Debbie Browning, R.N., MUSC Women & Infant Services Service Line director. MUSC’s Women & Infant Services includes the Obstetrics-Gynecology (OB-GYN) floor (fifth floor in the Medical University Hospital), which includes labor and delivery; 5W Antepartum (high risk deliveries); and 5E Postpartum (post delivery); a Level I nursery; Children’s Hospital, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) and Level II nursery and Peds Meducare.
“MUSC has a very good reputation for being the high-risk specialty center, but we can also provide a wonderful birth experience for low risk patients as well,” said Browning. “Every mother-to-be brings unique expectations to her birth experience, and our perinatal nursing staff work very diligently to ensure needs are met. We really strive to meet the needs of our patients; knowing they will always remember the birth of their child.”
New mother Dr. Kristin Highland, right, an MUSC pulmonolgist, welcomes Rosemary Claire born Jan. 12 at MUSC. Highland is joined by her obstetrician Dr. Margaret Villers.

Although what MUSC provides is similar to what’s provided to mothers and newborns at other Lowcountry hospital facilities, what’s distinguishable is MUSC’s maternal fetal medicine practice that supports women with high-risk pregnancies and the ability to provide specialized care to the tiniest of patients through the NNICU and Level II nursery.
If a mother delivers her child at MUSC and experiences complications, both mother and child can be admitted to the NNICU in the Children’s Hospital. It’s helpful and convenient to keep both mother and child in one location in support of the newborn’s care, according to Browning. Currently, patients stay in pods within the NNICU where parents can come and go as needed. The NNICU staff is available to help guide and educate the mother, father and family. Browning said that a virtual tour of the facility and what it offers also is available.
“MUSC’s obstetrics program is known throughout the Lowcountry community for taking care of high-risk pregnancies and preterm or sick neonates (newborns),” said Jill Mauldin, M.D., Perinatal Service Line medical director. “What they don’t realize is that our staff is just as skilled in caring for low-risk pregnancy patients as well. MUSC Perinatal Services prides itself on providing the best care for women when they’re expecting. We think it’s a strong benefit because if something should go wrong, we have expert care—skilled obstetricians, neonatologists and anesthesiologists—available to mother and child 24/7. There’s no other hospital in town that can claim this.”

Relying on a skilled team
Ambulatory Care Service Excellence manager Maggie Thompson was expecting twins and was a 2003 patient of Roger Newman, M.D., a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and vice chairman for academic affairs and Women’s Services Research, OB-GYN. She had experienced a good pregnancy until she unexpectedly went into pre-term labor at 25 weeks. What was puzzling was Thompson had not presented with any of the classic symptoms of labor. However, the Maternal Fetal Medicine staff had trained her to be alert and sensitive to any small changes and she had noticed that her stomach felt hard to the touch at times. She presented her symptoms to Eugene Chang, M.D., medical director of MUSC Labor and Delivery, who instructed her to come to the hospital immediately. Within an hour, Thompson was admitted and in full labor.
“I was fortunate to have a remarkable team of physicians, residents and staff who were able to stop my labor in time,” said Thompson. “Having a team of skilled specialists available during my pregnancy and delivery was the most important priority for me and ultimately helped save my children’s lives.” She remained in the Antepartum unit for another eight weeks until she gave birth at 33.5 weeks to twins, Sam and Ellie. At first, the twins struggled and were placed on ventilators and rushed to the NNICU. Today, both are healthy at age 4.

The best place to be
UMA coder Erin Britz also has experienced great success delivering her son and daughter at MUSC. Britz remembers her first delivery with her son. She experienced some complications, which resulted in the medical expertise of others.
“My baby was breech, so I came in to have him turned from breech to head down,” said Britz. “But during the procedure, my son’s heart rate dropped to around 60, so I was rushed to the operating room for an emergency C-section.”
“The staff was great and very professional,” Britz continued. “My nurse, Myrtle Edwards, stayed with me from the time I was admitted to when I left the recovery room. She made me feel very comfortable knowing that she was there if I needed anything. My obstetrician, Dr. Soper [David], also made sure I had everything that I needed. I wasn’t able to see my baby immediately after he was born, so Dr. Soper made sure that the nurse brought my son to me. I felt very comfortable knowing that if something were to go wrong during my delivery that I was in the best place.”
Other support includes a lactation consultation service team who make sure to connect with new moms soon after delivery. This is especially important for NNICU newborns as data continues to report better outcomes for a neonate if the mother can pump and feed breast milk to the child within six hours after delivery, said Browning.
“As Perinatal Services and MUSC continues to grow, there will always be an opportunity and chance for us to reach out and look further at women’s health needs in general and expand on them,” Browning said
To schedule an appointment, call 792-1212.

OB/GYN—Perinatal Services
Perinatal Service Line medical director
Jill Mauldin, M.D.

Perinatal Service Line nursing director
Debbie Browning, R.N.

Labor & Delivery medical director
Eugene Chang, M.D.

NNICU medical director
Fran Koch, M.D.

Children’s Hospital Administrator
John Sanders

Lactation Consultation Service
Jean Rhodes, R.N., Ph.D.; Jeanne Barreira, R.N.; Barbara Haase, R.N.; Pamela Murphy, R.N.;
and Jill Burns, R.N.


Friday, Jan. 16, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.