Ballad Health makes changes at two hospitals

Published 9:01 pm Monday, April 13, 2020

Ballad Health announced changes at two Kingsport hospitals at a media briefing on Monday.
In preparation for a COVID-19 surge, Lindy White, President of Ballad’s Northwest Market, said care for the virus will be dedicated to Holston Valley. A Women and Newborn Center will be established at Indian Path Children’s Hospital. These changes will be going into effect on April 22 at 12:01 a.m.
“The changes will help in the near-term efforts to enhance capacity for intuned responding to COVID-19, while also leading us to the establishment of a dedicated women’s and newborn hospital linked with regional high acuity children’s services at Niswonger Children’s Hospital,” she said.
White said the Women and Newborn Center would be one of the first of its kind in the Appalachian highland region.
Holston Valley patients, including those needing labor and delivery services, will be referred to Indian Path after the set date.
This decision, while occurring during the pandemic, comes from a preliminary report from Ballad’s Kingsport VIsionary Committee that recommended a dedicated women and newborn hospital linked to high acuity children services.
During this pandemic, pregnant women are urged to be especially cautious, and also maintain their health.
“All the social distancing and staying of public is even more important for pregnant women,” said Dr. Herbert Ladley, Chief Medical officer for the Northwest Market and a practicing cardiologist. “This virus appears to be challenged by people who get some exercise in. So at the extent you can get some regular exercise is time well spent. Also paying attention to symptoms. I think those have been outlined well, fever is a hallmark, breathing trouble, nausea, other symptoms. If any of those things change, it’s hard to sometimes pick those out from the pregnancy itself, but to bring that up to your provider.”
According to Dr. Robert Saunders, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN), the immune system changes in pregnancy.
“Pregnancy in and of itself is not so much an immunocompromise, but the immune system actually is affected during pregnancy,” he said. “It does make the pregnant lady a little bit more at risk. So the handwashing, wearing the mask, especially when out in public, and social distancing. The key to it is going to be not only maintaining nutrition, but also maintaining all your other factors as much as possible, and to make sure you’re in conversation with your OB as early as possible if you’re having any of these symptoms. These are going to be fever, cough, congestion, sore throat and difficulty breathing.”
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