Valley hospital opens emergency room for expectant moms

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- It is the first place we head in a medical emergency: the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

And, while doctors there are certainly well trained, when it comes to care for expectant moms, one Valley hospital has added an extra layer. It is an emergency room specifically for pregnant women, staffed full time with board-certified OB-GYNs.

Amber Gonzalez is the proud mom of a brand new baby boy, but she says a week ago, something just did not feel right. So she headed to the ER.

“And I got to talk to the doctor, more than one, and they basically just coached me and made me understand that everything was OK,“ she remembered.

Gonzales says she saw five different doctors, all specialists, possibly in large part because she was not actually in the regular ER. She was in the OB-GYN emergency department at Abrazo Health's Phoenix Baptist Hospital.

“This is an obstetrical emergency department staffed with board-certified OB-GYNs, who are here 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Dr. Lynette Watkins, chief medical officer at Phoenix Baptist.

Watkins says the idea was to provide an extra layer of care for expectant moms.

“Whether it is 12 p.m. or 12 a.m., the patient and her family have access to this specialized care. It is complementary to our emergency department,“ she said.

Dr. Donald Toatley is with Ob Hospitalist, the group partnering with Abrazo on this specialized labor and delivery center.

“So here, we are immediately available for obstetrical emergencies as well as routine care,” he told 3TV.

And Toatley says it is about more than just actual medical care; a big part of it is easing anxiety and fear.

“One of the things that, to me, is very important with that anxiety and one way of alleviating it, is simply being present,” he explained.

It made all the difference for Gonzalez: “They actually monitored me for a while and made sure there was nothing wrong, which made me a lot more comfortable.”
 
And while she was able to go home after her first visit, it was enough to convince her that Phoenix Baptist is where baby Kai would arrive in the world just a few days later.

”It made a huge difference. I wasn't even going to originally deliver at this hospital, so I ended up delivering here because of the doctors here," she said.