Borough Park, NY – Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn has long had the busiest single labor and delivery suite in Brooklyn—recording more births than hospitals far larger in size. But in a 48-hour period this week it may have set a record: There were 74 babies born in 48 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.
With a labor and delivery unit mean to handle 60 births, that burst of births meant setting up beds in non-maternity areas and turning operating rooms into delivery rooms.
Dr. Howard Minkoff, chairman of obstetrical services, blames much of the surge on nearby hospitals’ decisions to shutter their obstetrical units. “Others have stepped back from maternity care, Maimonides has stepped up,” he said.
A hospital spokeswoman said the rush dropped off somewhat Thursday, giving the exhausted staff a breather.
At its peak, the hospital was caring for new mothers on a first-floor unit while their babies were in a fourth-floor nursery.
“The nurses and doctors were overwhelmed but they were all very compassionate and caring,” said one Brooklyn woman, who asked to be identified only as Mrs. Newman. Her daughter on Wednesday gave birth to her third child, a girl.
“They had volunteers giving babies bottles, and brought on extra staff,” she said.
Even so, Mrs. Newman’s daughter decided she would check out a day early. “It was taking them hours to bring her the baby for feeding,” the grandmother said. “She decided she’d get more attention from me.”
A hospital spokeswoman agreed there were delays. “Things aren’t perfect but everyone is getting appropriate care,” she said.
Mrs. Newman says she has good reason to have confidence in Maimonides’ maternity care. “I have ten children and they were all born there,” she says
Maimonides serves a multi-ethnic clientele in central Brooklyn, including an Orthodox Jewish community where large families are the norm. With the demand for maternity care certain to grow, the hospital is in the process of expanding its maternity care facilities.