Veronica Clark and James Lewis with their baby daughter Ilandra at the official opening of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s new obstetrical operating rooms on Monday. Officials in attendance included Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne.

Obstetrical operating rooms open in Red Deer

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre

Women with high-risk pregnancies, post-partum complications and caesarean sections now have two dedicated obstetrical operating rooms with a recovery area at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Located within the obstetrics unit, patients and their doctors can be there in a matter of seconds instead of the minutes it took to get to general operating rooms located in another part of the hospital.

“Being able to get parents into the OR as quickly as possible when it’s needed is so important. Often times (birth) goes really smoothly, but when there’s a crisis we really want to make sure moms get into surgery as quick as possible to have the best outcomes for mom and baby,” said associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne on Monday when the new ORs were officially declared open.

Veronica Clark, the first mom to give birth in the new ORs, said her daughter’s birth on April 3 was a dream come true.

She said during a past pregnancy when she found out that she was going to be separated from her baby she actually considered having that baby in a different hospital.

“You’ve really gone through a traumatic kind of event and to be separated from your baby right after is quite difficult. It was really nice to have that skin to skin contact and be able to bond immediately,” who gave birth to her daughter Ilandra through a scheduled C-section.

“When they keep you with her you just get to bask in the love that you’ve been waiting nine months for and it’s great. It’s a really special time.”

An atrium inside the obstetrics unit was reconstructed to become the operating rooms. Preparations for the $9.7 million project began in 2015, and it was completed on time and on budget.

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is the only referral centre for obstetrics in Central Alberta. About 2,700 babies are born at the hospital annually including 480 emergency C-sections and 420 elective C-sections.

The new obstetrical operating rooms are expected to free up space in the general operating rooms to allow about 330 more general surgery cases per year.

Another issue yet to be solved for the hospital is when it will get funding for much-needed infrastructure and service expansion that local doctors have identified.

Payne said the challenge that exists is the limit on infrastructure funding and NDP government had inherited an infrastructure deficit from the Progressive Conservatives, the same message that Premier Rachel Notley delivered in Red Deer about a week ago.

Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, said she met with local doctors about capacity concerns on Monday and working sessions are set up for later in April as well as in May.

“My conversation was really around not so much expansion, but more around what are the needed services for the Red Deer community and Central Zone and the planning that’s undertaken right now to examine that piece,” Yiu said.

“The services will inform resources needed and potential infrastructure.”

She said a decision on the need for further detailed planning will be made probably in the fall.

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