At Queens Hospital Center, having a baby is a… Labor Of Love

Last year, nearly 2,000 babies were born at Queens Hospital Center (QHC), and within the same 12-month period, the OBGYN department recorded about 50,000 outpatient visits.
In addition, more than 330,000 out-patient visits were recorded at the hospital, located on 164th Street and the Grand Central Parkway in Jamaica Estates.
Dr. Tod Rothschild, Assistant Director of the QHC Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, credited the unit’s range of services as one of QHC’s biggest draws.
“One of the reasons why women might choose to come here for prenatal care is that we have comprehensive care. We have onsite not just physicians, not just nurses, but social workers, nutritionists, and HIV counselors, so it’s a comprehensive approach to care,” Rothschild said on Monday, June 25.
The QHC Women’s Health Center - one of three Centers for Excellence within the hospital - and the OBGYN department serve women from conception until after the birth of their children, hospital officials said.
“Our Women’s Center of Excellence is a state-of-the-art facility offering a comprehensive array of services to the women in our community,” said Antonio D. Martin, Executive Director of the QHC. “Women from expectant mothers to seniors can take advantage of all their needs in a comfortable, modernized setting where they’ll find that attention to their cares and concerns are the number-one priority. They know they can look forward to receiving that same level of empathic, one-on-one care in all their future visits.”
“One of the great things about this hospital is that we have a lot of things in close proximity,” Rothschild said, pointing out the hospital’s labor and delivery sections, neo-natal area, post and ante partum departments, two operating rooms, and administrative offices. “They are literally a moment away from one another.”
If a patient needs a consult from one of these areas of expertise, medical staff members are readily available, he said.
In other hospitals, departments are sometimes situated in opposite ends of a building.
“Then, there’s a lot of running, but more importantly, if you need someone, it could take them a while to get there,” Rothschild said.
In addition, several specialty clinics - treating infertility, gynecological oncology, abnormal pap smears, and even pregnant women who are diabetic - are positioned nearby to the labor and delivery wing. QHC officials have found that nearly 13 percent of their pregnant patients suffer from diabetes, so the hospital set up a special section dedicated entirely to the would-be mothers with the disease.
A separate area of the department is also devoted entirely to urogynecological issues. Many women, and particularly those who have given birth or are pregnant, suffer from incontinence, Rothschild said.
“The fact that we have urology services and are aggressively trying to identify women we can help is a tremendous thing,” Rothschild said.
And with a diverse staff and several forms of language services, QHC is equipped to treat every patient, he added.
“If you look around we have people from all over the world here. People speak all different languages, have all different backgrounds, so it’s second nature to take care of a diverse group of people,” Rothschild said.
The hospital uses what they call the “I speak” system, where posters are positioned throughout the buildings, so that patients can simply point to the phrase written in their native tongue. If an interpreter cannot be found, hospital officials hook up their patients with the nationwide “Language Line,” a translation call service. Then, documents like operation consent forms and information packets are printed out in whatever language the patient feels most comfortable reading.
“Having an interpreter or having someone be able to read in their own language is phenomenal,” Rothschild said, explaining that he called for French and Chinese translation services during the previous week alone.
Rothschild, who has worked at the hospital for the past 14 years and is a father of two, added that QHC has recently taken on the task of creating a cozier environment stocked with state-of-the art equipment, like what he described as the highest-quality ultrasounds in Queens and the Pyxis Medstation 3000, a digital medication dispensing devise.
All of the department’s supplies and pharmaceuticals are placed within the Medstation, so that providers automatically restock the shelves and nurses are alerted about potential drug interactions after entering patients’ prescriptions into the computer.
Within five birthing suites, which average more than 400 square feet in area, several features like wooden cabinetry that hides oxygen tubes and reading lights above patients’ beds make the rooms feel less like a hospital and more like home, Rothschild said. Officials intended to keep the atmosphere quiet and calming, he explained, through design.
“As you can see the rooms are fairly big. We try to make it a delicate balance between making it homey, making it cozy, and at the same time have a lot of medical services available. We think we struck a good balance,” he said.
Next to each patient’s bed is a monitoring system, where each visit to the hospital is recorded in detail. Nurses’ notes, lab results, digital images like X-rays, and even information reported by the hospitals’ counselors and social workers are accessible through this system.
“I use all of the information,” Rothschild said, “Because I find all of it helpful. Every little piece helps you to get a better picture of what is going on with the patient.”
In his office down the hall, Rothschild can then pull up the hospital’s Misys Electronic Medical Systems (EMR) computer program, which emails him all lab tests that he has ordered and highlights unusual results. In addition, his computer, which has a key-activated sign on, gives him access to a pharmaceutical database and the intranet of updates from within the hospital.
The collaboration between different members of the department’s staff which includes nine attending physicians, seven physician assistants, and three nurse practitioners lead to complete care for patients, Rothschild said. Each year three doctors in training are accepted into the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department and currently there are 12 on staff.
“[Working with residents] creates a much better teaching environment for the hospital, and ultimately, that translates to better care for the patient and newer methods of care,” Rothschild said.
Dr. Dong Ping Zhang, who completed her residency at QHC in 2005 and has two children of her own, returned to work in the hospital this year after spending several months at another local hospital.
“Hands-on experience is the most important thing here,” Zhang said. “Residents get a tremendous amount of experience under the supervision of attending doctors.”
In addition, about 30 nurses - including Registered Nurses and Nurses Aides - are employed within the OBGYN Department.
Barbara Spence, a Registered Nurse who heads the OBGYN nursing staff, said that over the past 17 years at QHC, she has helped deliver more babies than she could even count. When she goes out shopping on Jamaica Avenue, oftentimes women approach her to say hello.
“At some point or another, every baby here passes through my hands,” Spence said, humbly admitting that she was presented with the hospital’s “ACE” Award for Achievement, Compassion and Excellence earlier this month.
“It felt good to know that the rest of my colleagues felt I was worthy of being recognized,” she said. “But the best part was that the award recognized the entire department, not just me. They all work very hard and deserve recognition.”

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