Huntington Hospital Monday began moving its post-partum patients to a facility in Bay Shore.
Mothers will still be able to deliver their babies at Huntington Hospital and fathers will be able to visit with their newborns there.
After about four hours, mothers and infants will be transferred to a Northwell facility in Bay Shore for discharge within about 24 hours. Mothers requiring a longer stay because of cesarean section or other complications, would remain longer, Dr. Mitchell Kramer, chairman of the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department.
“We are not going to be doing premature discharge,” Kramer said. New mothers who want to leave prematurely, Kramer said, would be asked to sign out acknowledging that it was against medical advice.
Mothers and babies will be transferred by ambulance, with a pediatric nurse practitioner and an EMS worker on hand. The Northwell facility in Bay Shore, with 17 private rooms and other facilities, is staffed by South Shore Hospital,which is about a block away and would handle any emergency needs.
Mothers will be able to communicate through electronic devices with their significant others, who will not be permitted in the Bay Shore building.
The Huntington maternity staff will remain at Huntington Hospital to handle other cases. The goal is to safeguard maternity patients as well as use the unit for other care.
“Everybody’s being repurposed and redeployed,” Kramer said. Other Northwell and other medical systems are making similar arrangements to deal with the onslaught of COVID-19 patients.
“Under the circumstances, it’s a very good solution to deal with situation,” he said. “Northwell has done an incredible job in terms of handling this crisis. At Huntington Hospital, Dr. (Nick) Fitterman (president of the hospital), Dr. (Michael) Grosso (medical director) and Randy Howard (COO Northwell) have done incredible work in organizing this.”
“We’re dedicated to taking care of mothers and babies and all needs are addressed,” he said. Some expectant parents are expressing anxiety , he said, but “They’ve been pretty good. They understand that we’re not leaving them out in the breeze.”
The hospital unveiled its expanded Center for Mothers and Babies unit in October 2018, with 19 private rooms.
The decision to move patients comes as medical staffs cope with an onslaught of COVID-19 patients.
In a letter to patients, the hospital said:
Our current visitation protocol will remain in effect, providing for one designated support person over the age of 18 to accompany our mothers during labor.
After bonding with the baby (and an observation period generally lasting at least 4 hours) mothers and babies will be transported via ambulance to a Northwell Postpartum Center that has been created for this purpose. There will be no visitation by fathers or significant others at the center.
Located at 39 Brentwood Road in Bay Shore, this center will be staffed with experienced obstetrical nurses and by obstetrical and pediatric staff who will provide the highest standard of care during your post-delivery hospitalization.
Mothers and babies will typically be discharged after 24 hours for normal deliveries; discharge after cesarean section would take an additional day.
Early newborn follow-up examination arrangements will be made for you before you leave the facility.
Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about this program at 631-351-2353.