Changing the Landscape for Healthcare for Moms and Babies in North Central Oklahoma
In 2019, construction began on a state-of-the-art addition to the main hospital at Stillwater Medical. The new three-story addition would add much needed surgical suites, an updated labor and delivery unit to include 14 birthing suites, and expansion of the Intensive Care Unit.
In early 2022, the original plans were updated when Stillwater Medical President & CEO Denise Webber announced that the hospital would also be elevating newborn care by adding a Level II NICU in partnership with Oklahoma Children’s Hospital as part of the Women’s Health Center expansion. This addition would allow Stillwater Medical to care for babies born as early as 32 weeks and those that require extra care, such as breathing and feeding support and IV medications. The NICU will include 10 beds, a nursery, 2 family sleep rooms, a waiting area, hospitality room, and bereavement room.
“Not only will the addition of a newborn intensive care unit at Stillwater Medical help keep babies closer to home, it will also allow Oklahoma Children’s Level IV NICU to have room for the most critical cases. This is important for families in Stillwater and surrounding areas,” said Pediatrician Melinda Webb M.D. “The addition means that families can stay together and be closer to home. And we know that this increases positive outcomes for babies and mothers. Bonding, breast feeding rates, and healing all improve when families can be together.”
Trent E. Tipple, M.D., F.A.A.P., chief of neonatology at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital and chief of neonatal-perinatal medicine at OU College of Medicine explained that premature babies often must be sent out of state because there are simply not enough NICU beds to keep Oklahoma families together. The 98-bed Level IV NICU at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital is frequently operating at maximum capacity. (story continues below)
Level IV NICUs offer the most comprehensive care to the most seriously ill newborns needing complex medical and surgical care. Tipple said Oklahoma Children’s Hospital receives many patients from Stillwater Medical and surrounding hospitals who need Level II care, underscoring how the creation of a Level II NICU at Stillwater Medical makes perfect sense.
The Stillwater Medical Foundation quickly jumped to the task of assisting the hospital with the funding of the new NICU. Understanding the need and the funds required to make a Stillwater NICU a reality, Stillwater based OnCue knew they wanted to help and contributed the single largest gift in history to Stillwater Medical of $1,000,000.
OnCue President, Laura Aufleger said, “We knew our gift would make the NICU a reality and our commitment would have an impact on children and families in Oklahoma for decades to come. Our stores have been serving the Stillwater area for 55 years, and I am beyond grateful that we can make this investment to save lives in our community.”
Michal Shaw, Stillwater Medical Foundation Executive Director explained that along with the historic gift, OnCue will have the sole naming rights to the NICU.
“Stillwater Medical and the Stillwater Medical Foundation are grateful for OnCue’s vision and generous investment in Stillwater and all of north central Oklahoma,” said Shaw. “We are excited to say that the OnCue Neonatal ICU is scheduled to open in the spring of 2024.”
For more information about Stillwater Medical, visit https://www.stillwater-medical.org/