, Muskogee, OK

December 13, 2013

New facility for expectant mothers

EASTAR labor and delivery unit rooms cozy

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Babies have a new place in Muskogee to welcome them to the world.

EASTAR Health System moved its labor and delivery department to its east campus, 2900 N. Main St., earlier this month.

The first baby was born Dec. 2. The new unit has welcomed more than 15 babies, said Michael Gilpin, EASTAR marketing director.

The women’s unit features five labor-delivery and recovery rooms on the second floor and 12 post-partum rooms on the third floor.

The babies can be welcomed with cozy new rooms. Big windows in each room give the newborns a look at their new world.

“The rooms are set up so the families can be present — as the mother desires,” said Delaine Bartsch, administrator of the EASTAR Women & Children’s Center.

Each room features a full-sized sofa that could convert into a bed.

A wide-screen TV doubles as a computer, Bartsch said. Patients can find portable keyboards in a drawer, she said.

“As long as they are okay, they (babies) can stay in the room with the mom, and go up to the third floor when the mom goes,” Bartsch said. “If the baby has any issues, the baby is taken to the nursery.”

Bartsch came to EASTAR from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, where she was quality management and population health facilitator for the School of Community Medicine. She also had been service line director for women’s and children’s services at Hillcrest Health System.

“Delaine has a very strong background in neonatology,” Gilpin said. “That’s going to be extra helpful with additional talent.”

Eventually, the EASTAR Women and Children’s Center will have a level 2B neonatal unit.

“We call it a special care nursery,” Bartsch said. “We have two neonatologists on staff and three nurse practitioners. A neonatologist will be on staff at all times.”

Gilpin said such a unit is “very rare for a town this size.”

The center has a triage room where doctors can evaluate labor issues.

The second floor also has two rooms for whirlpool baths, Bartsch said. “The whirlpool relaxes the women and speeds up recovery.”

Each floor also has a large, centralized nurses’ station, which offers room for physicians, therapists, nurses.

“They have visual access to all the rooms,” Gilpin said.

The floor features a large operating room for Caesarian sections or other procedures.

The 12 post-partum rooms and a nursery on the third floor offer a quieter area for the mother and child. The nursery is licensed for 25 bassinets.

The viewing area outside the nursery features couches and chairs.

“This is almost unheard of,” Bartsch said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in 32 years of nursing. Instead of standing in a hallway, they actually have a nice comfortable area they can go to. This is awesome. Most people get run over by stretchers and other people in a traditional hospital.”

The nursery viewing room also has a step to help siblings peek through the window and see baby brother or sister.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or