BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The last time a major hospital pulled up roots and moved to a new location in Baton Rouge was in 1978. that's when Our Lady of the Lake moved from near the state capitol to Essen Lane. Early Sunday morning Woman's Hospital made its own historic move from it's Goodwood location, it's home for nearly 43 years.
For those in charge, it was a logistical undertaking of Olympic proportions. According to the hospital's head of nursing, Tricia Johnson, "It's kind of like the athletes training for four years and their day is here. That's how we feel. We've been preparing a long time and today's our day to win a gold medal."
One of the biggest challenges involved in a hospital move this large is making sure every newborn and new mom that leaves "point a" is safely reunited at "point b". To make sure that happens, a command center was set up to track the location of every mother and child each step of the way. Nothing could be more important for Regan Kliebert of Grammercy. She made the trip with only one of her twins. The other was in neonatal intensive care and had to be transported separately. Kliebert told 9News, "I hate not being with her right now, it's really hard, but I know she's in good hands."
If the safety and security of patients was a top priority for the move, so was the need to make sure babies with undeveloped immune systems weren't exposed to something that could make them sick on their way to the new hospital. A decontamination center was set up so teams could thoroughly sterilize every carrier before it was reused in the transport process. It's all to make sure one baby's illness wasn't passed to another.
Tor all the precautions taken to make sure the transition from one hospital to the next was smooth, most moms who made the trip had little to worry about. Now at Pecue, Daniel and Delana Heltz are waiting to have their her baby. For Delana, the worst part of the move was a little pre-move jitters. "I'd never ridden in an ambulance so I was a little nervous." That said, the Heltz's couldn't be happier with their new, more spacious room.
CEO Teri Fontenot describes Woman's 6 mile trek South on Airline Highway as crescendo in her career at Woman's. "We've been planning it for over 6 years and it's such a beautiful facility. it's exactly what we wanted for our patients."
Even as the move played out, Woman's Goodwood campus was host to at least six women too far a long in their labor to move. Their babies were among the last born at the old hospital.
Nearly 300 thousand babies have been born at the Goodwood hospital since it opened.
It was officially closed to the public Sunday evening. From here on out, the only Woman's Hospital will be the new campus at Airline and Pecue Lane.