Cleveland Clinic maternity ward getting major renovation

Dr. Kristy Crawford [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

The maternal child health rooms at the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital are getting a major and much-needed makeover.

Nurse manager Mary Volsky says the $500,000 renovation will include new recliners, bedside tables, night stands, chairs and sleep sofas, and hospital-grade bassinets, along with a bedside ultrasound scanner, a new telemetry monitoring system, five new labor and delivery beds and five newborn “Panda Warmers” – high-tech baby-care platforms that monitor babies’ condition, keep them warm and make it easy for parents and nurses to care for and interact with newborn infants.

Dr. Kristy Crawford at Partners in Women’s Health Crawford freely admits the “Panda Warmers” win the cutest name award, but as an obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) physician, she points to the new labor and delivery beds as perhaps the biggest upgrade.

“The new beds are amazing,” Crawford exclaims. “When you’re getting ready to have a baby, the bottom of the bed breaks down and stirrups come up from underneath the bed. You can put your legs on stirrups and the whole bottom section of your bed is taken away,” or easily pushed under the rest of the bed to make room for the delivery procedure.

“With the previous beds – oh, my gosh – I think most of our nurses probably have hernias from trying to pick those up and tote them across the room,” Crawford adds.

And, for the record, at the only maternity hospital in Indian River County, that can be a lot of toting. Even though Vero is known for its older demographic, Crawford says, “we range anywhere from 65 to 100 deliveries per month.”

The effervescent Crawford, who has a five-star rating on, credits Partners in Women’s Health director Megan McFall, whom she calls “amazing,” for making great choices for the first renovation of the maternity rooms since Crawford arrived three years ago.

Back to the “Panda Warmers” …. Crawford says, “they have temperature sensors on them. They have monitors on them. They have different areas that help with oxygen flow. They’re not just warmers at all.”

Crawford is clearly a fan of the cutely-named equipment. “They make it so much easier for the people providing care to the child.” Besides delivering gentle infrared heat, “they also double as scales, making it easier to weigh a newborn, and they monitor the child’s vital life signs and show that data on their monitor.”

The new bedside ultrasound scanner gets equally high marks from Crawford.

She jokes that the previous scanner “was probably from the 1930s or something,” adding that the images from the new scanner “are amazing. The pictures have so much more clarity; you’re just able to see things much, much better.

“Being able to assess the amount of fluid in there quickly, being able to assess the position of the baby [and] the presentation of the baby,” is far easier with the new scanner.

Then there is the new telemetry monitoring system.

Telemetry, Crawford says, “is just a fancy word that means we want you on a monitor knowing what your heart rate is the whole time, like an EKG monitor. It’s basically the same thing. It’s giving us the heart rhythm of the baby,” and while most of us might think heartbeats just come naturally, Crawford is quick to note that everything outside the womb is, well, new for newborns.

As she puts it, adults don’t have to think about remembering to breathe or telling their heart to beat, but for newborns it’s a whole different story.

“You were in your mom,” Crawford explains. “Everything was being taken care of for you. Now you’re out of your mom and you’ve got to keep your own temperature up. You’ve got to make your own heartbeat. You’ve got to breathe on your own,” and the new monitors keep constant track of all that and instantly alert hospital personnel if there’s a problem.

According to Crawford, every physician at Partners in Women’s Health, including Dr. Felix Bigay-Rodriguez, Dr. George Fyffe, Dr. Deni Malave-Huertas, Dr. Cristina McClure, Dr. Alfonsina Garcia Bracero and, of course, Crawford herself, are looking forward to the completion of this maternity makeover.

Dr. Kristy Crawford is with Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital and Partners in Women’s Health. Her office is at 1050 37th Place, Suites 101-103. The phone number is 772-770-6116.

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