It’s a boy

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Beaufort Memorial commits to delivering babies in Beaufort, plans to establish new OB/GYN practice

To ensure birthing services will always be available close to home, Beaufort Memorial Hospital is aggressively pursuing plans to establish its own obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) practice.

Pictured with her parents, Jim & Cindy Carlson, this is the first baby for Beaufort resident Laura Crawn and her newborn son, Carson, who was born at Beaufort Memorial earlier this week, pictured with Laura’s parents, Jim and Cindy Carlson.  “I had a wonderful experience at BMH,” said Crawn. “The nurses were amazing and I received excellent care.” Carson is the first child for Crawn and her husband Justin.
Pictured with her parents, Jim & Cindy Carlson, this is the first baby for Beaufort resident Laura Crawn and her newborn son, Carson, who was born at Beaufort Memorial earlier this week, pictured with Laura’s parents, Jim and Cindy Carlson. “I had a wonderful experience at BMH,” said Crawn. “The nurses were amazing and I received excellent care.” Carson is the first child for Crawn and her husband Justin.

Administrators began recruiting physicians for its medical staff after learning six Beaufort-based OB/GYNs had been hired by Tenet Corporation to deliver babies exclusively at Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville.

“We are committed to continuing our nearly 70-year history of delivering babies and caring for families,” said BMH President and CEO Rick Toomey. “We hate to lose these fine doctors, but we’ll do whatever is necessary to maintain birthing services right here in Beaufort.”

The six OB/GYNs—Drs. Ardra Davis-Tolbert, Meredith Mitchell and Lynn Norton of Coastal Obstetrics and Gynecology and the practice of Jo Ann Csakany, Randy Royal and Glenn Werner—broke the news to BMH administrators last week that they were merging the two groups to decrease their on-call commitments.

All six of the doctors, along with midwives Donna Andrews and Elizabeth Durant, will work directly for Tenet, which owns the Hardeeville hospital and Hilton Head
Regional Healthcare.

“We didn’t become aware that the two groups were in negotiations with Tenet until after the contracts were signed,” Toomey said of the physicians. “We would have loved to have had the opportunity to make a counter proposal or to have sat down with them before they signed their contract with Tenet, so we could have kept them in their home community and at Beaufort Memorial.”

Although the doctors’ contract with Tenet goes into effect October 1, the OB/GYNs will continue delivering babies at Beaufort Memorial through February or March 2014, and will maintain their Beaufort practices.

Meantime, hospital administrators have begun a search for qualified OB/GYNs and already have received multiple inquiries. They plan to have the new physicians on board by the beginning of next year.

The hospital’s medical staff also currently includes three board-certified OB/GYNs—Drs. Cathy Bagley, Allahna Coggins and Claude Tolbert of Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services. An additional five OB/GYNs from Naval Hospital Beaufort deliver babies at BMH. Gynecologists Drs. John Fontana and Patricia Thompson are still affiliated with and perform surgeries at the Beaufort Memorial, but do not deliver babies.

Recognizing there may be questions and confusion about the changes, Beaufort Memorial administrators will present two community forums from noon to 1 p.m. and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, August 12, in Room 426 of the Beaufort Memorial Medical & Administrative Center at 990 Ribaut Rd., across the street from the main hospital campus. If you have questions, but can’t attend the forum, questions may be emailed to babies@bmhsc.org.