WHEELING - Wheeling Hospital's Center for Pediatrics continues to grow with the goal of providing new services and doctors previously not available here at home.
Ron Violi, Wheeling Hospital chief executive officer, said the hospital's drive is to provide services that allow families to get treatment without having to leave the area.
"Our commitment to the community is to provide to the community what it needs. We believe that's the central driver. That's why we started with pediatrics and ob/gyn, because those were areas where we had people leaving the area," Violi said.
Brandon D’Accione listens to his toy dog’s heartbeat while Dr. Evelyn Nartatez-Serag waits for the results. Each year, a number of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students attend Wheeling Hospital’s Well Doll Clinic.
"Our pediatric center - we have people coming from all over. Our autism center is the envy of the world. It's great, it's absolutely great some of the stuff we're doing. We have the only pediatric surgeon (Dr. Indranil Sau) in the region. He's internationally renowned.
"We have pediatric endocrinologists - you can't find them. We have pediatric psychiatrists - they are hard to get. Nationally, most hospitals don't have them," he added.
He noted the hospital now can handle high-risk pregnancies, as Dr. Ronald Thomas, an obstetrician-gynecologist with subspecialty training in maternal-fetal medicine, is now a member of the team. Before women had to receive such care in Columbus, Pittsburgh or Cleveland.
The center also offers a variety of specialists to treat infants, children and adolescents. And with its partnership with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, parents can now obtain services for their children such as pediatric cardiology, general and thoracic surgery, otolaryngology, neurology and hematology/oncology services.
The components of the center include: primary care pediatrics; pediatric subspecialty care, including endocrinology; specialized hospital care for children; pediatric rehabilitation services, including occupational, physical, speech and autism spectrum disorders therapy; psychiatric services for children and adolescents; wellness services, such as exercise and diet programs, geared especially toward youth through the Howard Long Wellness Center; coordination with community services, such as West Virginia Birth to Three, Ohio Help Me Grow, Reach Out and Read and Catholic Charities.
At East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry, the Birthplace continues to incorporate its "Baby Friendly, Healthy Goals" initiative that strongly encourages breastfeeding for all new moms and creates a bonding atmosphere for mothers and babies who now spend 23 hours a day together following delivery.
The BirthPlace staffers at both East Ohio and Ohio Valley Medical Center undergo at least 20 hours of instruction to be able to meet the "Baby Friendly-Healthy Goals" designation. The initiative is designed to give babies a healthy start in life and help prevent childhood obesity. Obstetric staffs are cross trained so that they can work at either hospital if the need arises.
That training also transcends to every department of the hospital so if a nursing mom comes into the emergency room or needs surgery, her specific needs and requirements are met.
At OVMC, the maternity floor continues to maintain a traditional nursery for the newborns while at EORH, babies remain in their mothers' rooms for most of their stay. And in those first few days, mothers are given personalized instructions on caring for their babies, themselves and even the rest of the family before heading home with their newborns.
At Wheeling Hospital, the birth of a baby is announced over the intercom shortly after his or her arrival. A lovely chime followed by a message welcoming the newborn is shared by everyone at the hospital.
After all, giving birth requires teamwork.
At Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, the New Generation Birth Center sees an average of 15 births per month, or between 120 and 150 births each year.
While routine deliveries are the goal at Reynolds, the hospital sees a fair share of high-risk, indigent pregnant women who can present problems when delivering their babies.