Nearly a year after opening, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton in South Hall County is moving forward on construction of a 10-room obstetrics unit.
“I think it’ll change the look and feel of the hospital,” president Anthony Williamson said. “Delivering babies ... is always a big focus of most hospitals of this size. ... It’s a community need. It’s a basic service, if you will.”
And like expectant parents getting the nursery ready for the new bundle of joy, hospital officials are eagerly awaiting the start of the new service.
The project is on track for a targeted opening the first of October, Williamson said.
Construction began in May on the wing, just one month after the hospital’s much-celebrated opening. When finished, the expansion will offer 10 rooms, two suites for cesarean sections, a nursery and reception and waiting areas.
The 10 rooms will serve for all stages of having a baby — labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care.
Women now finding out they’re pregnant can schedule their delivery at the hospital, officials said.
“You can go ahead and start seeing the doctors, get in with the practice, get used to all the physicians who’ll be on rotation here and definitely get ready to have your baby here,” spokeswoman Beth Downs said.
The 100-bed hospital, which is off Friendship Road/Ga. 347 near Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211, is seeking a certificate of need from the state to add a four-bed special care nursery for obstetrics. Officials could learn by the end of March whether that certificate has been approved.
With the nursery, the hospital could care for infants born at 32 weeks or later “who are moderately ill with problems expected to resolve rapidly.” Also, the hospital could provide care for infants recovering after intensive care.
Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville, located at 743 Spring St., has a special care nursery and a neonatal intensive care unit.
Other changes at the Braselton campus include the hospital earning a state certificate to add radiation therapy at Medical Plaza 1.
In an earlier interview, Jayme Carrico, executive director of oncology services, said the addition of radiation therapy services “culminates our vision of providing comprehensive care to our patients.”
Added Carrico: “We’re thankful for the opportunity to help our patients battle cancer without the added stress of traffic and long-distance traveling.”
Dr. Malay Rao, a radiation oncologist with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, said “our goal is to minimize or remove not only the cancer, but also as much of the stress as we can. That includes making treatment options as convenient as possible, especially for many of our patients who travel daily for care.”
The office has three patient rooms and a procedure room as well as separate waiting rooms for men and women. There are also dressing rooms with lockers.
The opening of the Braselton campus also brought access to minimally invasive and robotic surgery options, using the newest robotic technology available with the da Vinci Xi Surgical System.
Robotic surgery can result in less pain, smaller scars and faster recovery compared to traditional surgery.
Overall, “we’ve always envisioned kind of a walk-jog-run approach in opening the hospital,” Williamson said.
“The ultimate goal is to keep sicker patients here and help decompress some of the volumes at the Gainesville campus by allowing patients to stay closer to home,” he said.