Women in the United States face a far greater risk of dying from childbirth complications than in many other developed countries around the world. In fact, one recent study shows that maternal death rates in America have more than doubled in the last 20 years.
While these statistics are startling, it is more alarming that four out of five of these maternal deaths happen in the weeks and months before or after birth. They are not occurring in our hospitals during delivery, but in our communities, and may represent an absence of support necessary for women to recognize medical warning signs - like abnormal bleeding - and to seek timely care. In Nashville, there is a place for women to go that provides exceptional, specialized care designed specifically for the unique needs of women.
For the past decade, TriStar Centennial Women's Hospital has been home to Nashville's only emergency room specializing in obstetrical and gynecological care. It is also one of only a handful of such emergency care models in the nation - TriStar Summit opened a dedicated women's ER in September of 2018 - specifically designed to be a safe and reassuring place for women to come and be treated.
Initially, the Women's ER offered basic obstetric services, but it soon became clear that the unique needs of women required an expanded approach to services. The highly specialized Women's ER is staffed 24/7 with board certified OB/GYN specialists who treat about 8,000 patients annually.
Women who have any medical concerns at all can come to the ER at TriStar Centennial Women's Hospital and a women's health specialist will examine and treat them. Typically, we offer a quicker turnaround and shorter wait times than a general ER because we see patients with much more specific needs. Moreover, all the things we need to treat our patients are right here in the emergency department, the specialists, the equipment - like ultrasound - and staff trained to care specifically for women.
Often women go to a general emergency room if they have a concern during pregnancy or after delivery. In a general emergency room, they would see an ER doctor who would consult with an obstetrician if needed. However, we find that things are often missed in a general emergency department that a specialist would likely notice.
This is what we do every day, and we do it very well. Our high touch care model helps us make sure we are addressing all the patient's needs at one time. We have never lost a mother in our hospital, and that is in large part because of our focused care, the way we listen to our patients and understand their unique needs.
We know that adverse outcomes sometimes are related to not listening to women, so we take our time to really talk to our patients and listen to them. We give them a chance to explain what is going on, and when we do this, we often discover issues that can be addressed immediately before they have the potential to become worse.
We offer women peace of mind, knowing they can come here to get the answers they need. Sometimes it is a pregnant woman who wants to know if they are in labor, or an older woman who is experiencing unusual bleeding, or a mother who has recently delivered a child and isn't quite sure if what she is experiencing is normal. If there is something unusual, we are here to take care of them and give women the answers they need, whether they have a doctor here or not.
The entrance to the women's ER is conveniently located directly to right of the TriStar Centennial Women's Hospital where nearly 3,600 babies are delivered each year. The women's hospital is particularly notable for its capacity to care for high-risk specialty pregnancies. The hospital has a 60-bed Level III NICU for advanced care of the most medically fragile newborns. The hospital admits about 10 high-risk patients each day, who may be having medical problems that put them or their baby at risk.
The TriStar Centennial Women's Hospital has three floors for delivery and each floor has an operating room. In total, there are 13 operating rooms where gynecological and obstetrical procedures are performed by 62 OB/GYN specialists who are on staff at the hospital. The TriStar Centennial Women's Hospital is located on the 43-acre campus of TriStar Centennial Medical Center. If there is a need that would benefit from the clinical expertise of another medical discipline, they are here. Likewise, if a patient comes to our general ER and an OB/GYN crisis arises, our specialist can go there too.
We are able to successfully perform an emergency cesarean delivery anywhere in our hospital and in any of our operating rooms. We are constantly working to improve our processes with the goal of safely delivering the baby within 10 minutes of an emergency.
Our maternal critical care committee is a collaborative team of specialists from various parts of the hospital that are focused on learning from one another, thinking about things like cardiovascular disease in women and planning for emergencies so that we work together seamlessly.
The bottom line is in this day, in this community, women should not be dying from treatable medical conditions. Our passion and our unwavering focus are on patient safety and delivering outstanding outcomes. We are proud of our record of accomplishment, and proud of the way we support our patients and their families along the way.
For more information about the comprehensive, multidisciplinary obstetrical and gynecological services offered by the physician specialists at TriStar Centennial Women's Hospital, visit TriStarCentennial.com.