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16,000 Babies And Counting KDMC labor-delivery unit celebrates 25 years

Photo By RHONDA DUNAWAY/ Nurses Christine Simpson, RN, (standing from left) and Emily Springfield, RN, watch over new mom and dad, Zack and Elizabeth Rutland (front) as they feed their twin boys, Gunner and Hunter Rutland, born Sept. 12 at King's Daughters Medical Center.

Photo By RHONDA DUNAWAY/ Nurses Christine Simpson, RN, (standing from left) and Emily Springfield, RN, watch over new mom and dad, Zack and Elizabeth Rutland (front) as they feed their twin boys, Gunner and Hunter Rutland, born Sept. 12 at King’s Daughters Medical Center.

Since 1988 King’s Daughters Medical Center has been delivering babies and taking care of mommies in Mississippi’s first medical care unit designed just for the special moment of birth.

Labor and delivery manager Angie Williamson, RN, BSN, said in the unit’s 25 years of existence, nearly 16,000 babies have been delivered there. Three of the original OBGYN physicians still serve here and five of the nurses that started with the original LDRP unit are still here, too, she said.

The labor-delivery-recovery-postpartum model of care began here with Dr. Richard Rushing, Dr. Steve Mills and Dr. J. Kim Sessums, and for 11 years the latest OBGYN has been Dr. Leigh Cher Gray. There are 43 employees in LDRP. The group has a passion for babies, said KDMC director of marketing, David Culpepper.

“It’s the vision and dedication by the board of directors, administration and Angie and her staff’s love for the work that make the wheels turn here,” he said. “And, now we’re celebrating 25 years of delivering life.”

Williamson said they decided to have a big birthday party to celebrate the unit’s 25th year. Festivities will be from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. Saturday in the Exchange Club Park in Brookhaven. Staff members will be handing out party favors and teddy bears. There will be cupcakes, drinks and other refreshments, face painting, free fair rides that include a train, a tilt-a-whirl and jumpers, games and prizes for children, door prizes and a raffle.

There will also be a signing wall for people to sign like a big birthday card, said Williamson.

Williamson is a cheerful leader who is very proud of her staff and the nine-suite LDRP department at the hospital. She noted their most recent award as being very special to each of them – an award handed out by Women’s Choice Award.com. And, there is a large banner in the KDMC lobby showing off the accolade.

For the second year in a row, the LDRP here has been awarded “The Best Hospital for Patient Experience and Obstetrics” by Women’s Choice Award: The voice of women. This organization can be located online at www.womenschoiceaward.com.

Their business is researching choices in things like medical care, automotive, financial and travel services for busy women who juggle career, family and other obligations, and awarding those products and services a spot light on their website.

Williamson said it’s their care model that makes the difference.

“I never have a nurse on duty that has more than three patients at a time,” she said. “A lot of hospitals only have labor-delivery-recovery. It’s cheaper that way, but this hospital decided patient satisfaction, health and safety was more important than the bottom line.

“It’s a continuum of care,” she said. “Even for women who undergo cesarean-sections, we have an operating room on the unit and there’s a mommy-cam so they don’t have to miss the moment when their babies come into the world.”

There are also the little thoughtful things that make new mothers and families feel at home, like the plush minky-dinky blankets in pink or blue they give to each baby. And a care pack for mommy’s postpartum needs filled with fresh undies and sanitary napkins.

The most precious extra is the silver baby-spoon they give away with a free engraving for baby’s name and birthday.

“We love giving these away,” Williamson jokes, “because you might not be born with one of these in your mouth if you’re born in Lincoln County.”

Williamson explained that the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses said it was a safety issue that there should be one labor and delivery nurse for one patient, “and we’ve been doing that from the beginning,” she added.

Culpepper said, “It’s big-city health care in a small town, but there’s nothing in Jackson that compares to what we have here.”