The Moore American

March 25, 2014

AmeriCares equips maternity unit at HealthPlex

American Staff
The Moore American

NORMAN — AmeriCares is outfitting the Women’s and Children’s Pavilion at the HealthPlex hospital in Norman with new medical equipment to help meet the increase in demand for maternity care since the May tornadoes destroyed the hospital in Moore.

The nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization recently awarded more than $130,000 in funding to the Norman Regional Health Foundation that allowed the Norman Regional Health System to purchase new equipment for five labor and delivery rooms and one operating room at the HealthPlex.

New bassinets, oxygen machines and monitors, as well as Panda Warmers to help newborns regulate body temperature, have been purchased. The hospital also acquired an additional monitor to measure a newborn’s vital signs after a caesarian section.

“Thanks to AmeriCares, everything the staff needs is right there in the room during a delivery. There is no more shuffling equipment or moving patients to better equipped rooms,” said Susie Graves, director of Patient Care Services for Norman Regional Health System. “It just elevates the quality of care.”

The number of births at the HealthPlex have increased from 220 per month to as many as 280 per month since the destruction of Moore Medical Center’s Family Birth Center five miles away.

To accommodate the overflow of maternity patients from Moore, which is also part of the Norman Regional Health System, the HealthPlex is using five additional hospital rooms for labor and delivery patients but needed the proper nursery equipment on hand to fully outfit each one.

Construction on a new, $29 million Moore Medical Center is expected to begin in the spring, but the new facility will not have a maternity unit when it opens in 2016. All labor and delivery services for the area will be provided at the HealthPlex. Nearly half of HealthPlex patients are low-income and receive Medicaid benefits.

AmeriCares has delivered 50 shipments of medicines and relief supplies valued at $3.3 million to the Oklahoma City area since a series of storms, including an EF-5 tornado, devastated the region in late May.

The aid deliveries included bottled water, first aid supplies and medicine — including 11,500 doses of tetanus vaccine to protect survivors injured while salvaging personal belongings from the wreckage and clearing debris.

AmeriCares has delivered medical relief and humanitarian assistance to millions affected by natural and man-made disasters worldwide for more than 30 years.

The aid organization has a long history of responding to U.S. disasters, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Joplin tornado in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy.