|Women: look no further for quality care
by Cindy Abole
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.”
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
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
“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.
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
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