Friday, February 7, 2014

At Loyola, high-risk pregnancies get world-class care

When Sharon and Patrick Hill of Elmhurst learned they were having triplets, they researched area hospitals that offered a top Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Maternal/Fetal Medicine (MFM) care. Their research led them to select Loyola University Medical Center. They felt they found the best team to care for Sharon and the babies, as the NICU has one of the state’s highest survival rates for low birth weight babies.

“We have created a strong team, which supports and communicates honestly with our high-risk pregnancy mothers, and we strive to always do so with compassion,” said Jean Ricci Goodman, MD, division director, Maternal/Fetal Medicine and medical director, Perinatal Center, Loyola University Medical Center. “Part of my promise to my patients is to give them all the information they need to make informed decisions.”

“I first met Dr. Goodman during one of my ultrasounds, which with triplets are a little scary,” Sharon recalled. “She was amazing. Her demeanor was warm and comforting. Throughout my pregnancy, I met most of the team and everyone made me confident that everything would be OK.”

Loyola offers comprehensive MFM care, including state-of-the art diagnostic testing such as CVS, which can replace the more invasive amniocentesis. Specialized ultrasounds are performed and interpreted by compassionate Loyola experts. Loyola genetic counselors guide expectant families through difficult issues they may face with gentle care, concern, respect and compassion.

During her pregnancy, Sharon developed preeclampsia, the combination of high blood pressure and abnormally high levels of protein. If untreated, it can become a life-threatening condition. The MFM team admitted Sharon into Loyola Hospital on May 30 to be sure she received the care she and her babies required.

“Whether I was at home or in the hospital, I always felt Loyola was caring for me and our babies,” Sharon said. “The way they delivered news or instructions was so warm. They were encouraging and seemed to be proud of me.”
Loyola’s MFM experts direct all aspects of a high-risk patient’s prenatal care and work closely with Loyola obstetricians, who typically bring the newborns into the world. 

“We give the mothers a chance to get to know each of the obstetricians before delivery,” said Akua Afriyie-Gray, MD, assistant professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Our team approach ensures that a familiar doctor is available for all moms at the time of delivery, every day of the year.” Dr. Afriyie-Gray was the obstetrician on call when, after nearly 33 weeks of pregnancy, it became apparent that “the day” had arrived.

“I explained to Sharon and her husband why a Caesarean section delivery would be best for Sharon and the babies,” Dr. Afriyie-Gray said. “I talked about the rare risks of complications, offering lots of reassurance along the way.”

Dr. Afriyie-Gray delivered Charlotte, Martin and Georgia at one-minute intervals on June 5. The healthy newborns, each weighing more than four pounds, spent two weeks in the NICU and another 10 days in the hospital nursery.

“When a woman has a complicated pregnancy, she and the physicians caring for her become a team,” Dr. Goodman explained. “We are all invested in the pregnancy. Sharon did everything we asked of her, from her frequent doctor visits and ultrasounds to using a bloodpressure monitor at home. She is a kind, warm and dedicated mom.”

Today, the triplets are thriving at home, surrounded by joy and love. “I would do it all again in a heartbeat,” Sharon said. “If I were pregnant again, I would choose Loyola. They were always on top of their game.”

Call (888) LUHS-888 (888-584-7888) to schedule an appointment with a Loyola physician.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.