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For the third time in their careers, many Memphis obstetricians are making plans to deliver babies at a new Baptist Hospital. Located on the opposite corner from Baptist East at Walnut Grove Road, the new Women’s Medical Center fronting on Humphreys Boulevard is scheduled to open May 6th. At a recent organizational meeting of the medical staff, Dr. Larry Johnson assumed, for his third time, the position of Medical Staff President. More than 130 physicians (80 of whom are obstetrician-gynecologists) are credentialed for the stand-alone facility devoted to the care of women. Neurosurgery and orthopedic cases will continue to be done at the Baptist East facility. Cardiovascular care will soon be performed at the new Baptist Heart Institute. Labor and Delivery will be the first department transferred at the opening of the new hospital. Surgical procedures involving one day and major surgeries will commence May 7th. Geared to being a full-service hospital for the female patient, all of the ancillary x-ray, lab, and support services will be contained within the 140-bed building. Pediatricians, anesthesiologists, pathologists, plastic and general surgeons will also be on the staff. Dr. Christine Mroz, a noted breast surgeon, will be among those using the seven available operating rooms. Typically these freestanding specialty hospitals are designed as the place a woman can see her OB/GYN, get a mammogram, receive infertility treatment, give birth, have breast reconstructive surgery, and take stress management classes -- a full spectrum of women’s health services available under one roof. A female-specific inpatient hospital is a new concept for this community, which Dr. Larry Johnson feels is “the right template that will create a great resource for women’s health care in the Mid-South.” The oldest hospital of this type was Boston Lying-in, founded in 1832. Nearby, in Baton Rouge, is another Women’s Hospital that is similar in size and demographics. Baptist officials have actively incorporated a number of positive aspects of the Louisiana structure into the new building. Working closely with their administration, Anita Vaughn, Baptist Women’s administrator and CEO, studied the many positive aspects such an entity could provide. “Our primary focus will be on preparation for emergency situations,” Vaughn stated. A high proficiency in Advanced Cardiac Life Support by nursing and medical personnel will be continually maintained. While Baptist will own and manage the new hospital building, the adjacent Physicians Office Building is being built by Healthcare Realty Trust. Staffing with nurses and surgical technicians is almost completed. The new hospital will have about 475 non-physician employees, many of whom were previously employed at the recently closed Baptist Medical Center. Unlike a number of other institutions which have rehabbed a wing of their hospital and called it a women’s center, the Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women will be a full-service, tertiary care facility. Although it will not have its own Emergency Department, hospital officials feel that it will be prepared to handle the 6,000-plus deliveries projected for the near future. Expansion planning is on the drawing board when future growth trends emerge. Two perinatalogists will provide consultation care for high-risk pregnancies while four newborn specialists will supervise the neonatal intensive care unit. Intensive care for the mother or gynecological patient will be provided in a specialized area with specialty trained ICU nurses. Access to more involved care is “four speed bumps away at the Baptist East building,” says Vaughn.

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