State's First Emergency Department for Troubled Pregnancies

Nov 16, 2016

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is opening the state’s first obstetrics emergency department.  It will be staffed around-the-clock by OB-GYN doctors.

The state's first obstetrics emergency department at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

Mercy and other hospitals across the state have long made nurses available to evaluate emergency cases among pregnant women. They would work in consultation with the patient’s personal physician, who was often not on-site. Now, maternity patients who are past 14-weeks of pregnancy and experiencing difficulties will be seen within 30-minutes of arrival at Mercy by a doctor. An internal fetal medicine specialist at the hospital, Jona Conklin, says this should relieve some stress.

“Being able to see a physician and know that you have been evaluated by a physician and that physician feels everything going on is perfectly okay, it’s going to help, I think, a lot with patient anxiety,” she says.

Conklin says it's a change from what formerly happened with maternity emergencies.

“Most triage work for any patient who would come to our floor with an obstetrical complaint was being done by nursing staff, in conjunction with the patient’s own physician, who usually was not physically in-house,” she says.

Eight doctors have been brought on board to staff the obstetrics emergency department at Mercy.