By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston officially blessed its second floor Center For Women Wednesday.
The multifaceted project, which has completed two of three phases of construction, is an all-inclusive department for any and all procedures a woman could need, from gynecological and obstetric services to postmenopausal issues.
"I think it's amazing," department Director Peg Brady said. "What's been done in a year is phenomenal. We've built on what was always here, which has always been integral to the hospital. But the comprehensive care is what I really like here. Patients can have everything they need done here on this unit."
There are several marked improvements the center boasts, including state-of-the-art recovery rooms for women who've just given birth. There are private rooms for families, a nursery (which will be updated as part of the third phase of the project) and some new equipment.
The new equipment is what really stands out in the center. There's a new ultrasound machine that produces three-dimensional images in real time. There's also a new birth simulator designed to keep the center's roughly 40 staff members as prepared for an emergency as possible.
"It allows the nurses and docs to train for different emergencies," Brady said. "Having these simulators really helps. Because as we grow and hire more staff, we need to make sure everyone's on the same page."
"There's a mother and a baby," hospital President Judith Maness said. "We can program different events to occur and the doctors and nurses can practice. They all can work together in a safe environment that feels real."
The all-inclusive unit also includes a brand-new redesigned recovery room, named in honor of one of the hospital's most recognizable doctors in women's health.
The Thomas E. Comerford Jr. Recovery Room is a full-service suite for women and their families, where they can be in peace following the stress of delivery. There's even a shower for comfort and a full-size bed.
Named after one of the hospital's founding physicians who delivered countless children within its halls, the suite's financiers – Comerford's son, John, his wife, Hope, and their children – had a chance to see what they'd helped create for the first time.
"I wanted to wait to see this until it was completed," Comerford said. "I'm happy with the commitment the hospital has made to women's health. I'm very excited for what this offers the communities of Lewiston, Youngstown and Niagara Falls. It's just a short drive for excellent care."
With the blessing Wednesday, performed by the Rev. Stewart M. Lindsay, focus can now shift to completing fundraising for the third phase of construction.
Maness said the hospital is a little less than half way to its goal of $2.1 million, which would go towards furnishing all of the rooms with new, comfortable beds and furniture, upgrades to technology in the department's operating room and several cosmetic changes to the hallways in the patient rooms.
She said all of the changes, from what's been done to what's left for the future, are designed to make patients and their families as comfortable and confident in the services provided at the hospital as possible.
"We've really looked at what is going to make the patients feel confident they're in good hands," she said. "That they're comfortable. That the husbands are comfortable. That their baby is safe. We want to make sure we have the best staff around them to help them enjoy the miracle of birth."