The Labor and Deliver Unit at North Central Bronx Hospital is now accepting patients.
After closing in August 2013 due to staffing shortages, the unit officially reopened to patients on Thursday, October 23.
The first baby born in the newly renovated maternity ward was a healthy girl named Nova Bryant.
She was born to parents Sierra Brownfield and Calvin Bryan at 2:08 p.m. on October 23, weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz. and measuring 19.1 inches in length.
Hospital officials celebrated the milestone by presenting the family with a gift basket filled with baby clothing and gifts.
The first birth marks the end of a year-long process for community activists, local elected officials and union leaders who fought for the reopening of the unit, which serves the densely populated Norwood community and its immediate nneighbors.
They came together with hospital officials on Thursday, October 9 to cut the ribbon on the renovated and restaffed unit and to celebrate the anticipated reopening.
“Today is a win,” said community activist Eileen Markey at the ceremony. “For the women of the Bronx, for the babies of the Bronx, and for the notion of a public health center.”
The invested parties met periodically with hospital officials throughout the year to push for a timely return of services.
“This coalition brought out the best of us, and brought out the best of HHC, who lived up to its commitments” said Councilman Ritchie Torres, who helped secure $600,000 of City Council funds for the $2 million renovation of the unit.
The improvements include a new Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, new nurses’ stations and computers, and environmental improvements to heating and air conditioning systems, in addition to new windows, floors, lighting and a fresh coat of paint.
The unit is staffed by 91 health care professionals, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses and midwives. The return of the midwives was a key part of the community activists demands.
Before the maternity unit closed, NCBH was the choice for approximately 1,400 expectant mothers and their families, according to the hospital, and officials expect that number to grow with the restoration and expansion of services.
Hospital officials and staff intend to keep meeting with community leaders and stakeholders to discuss outreach and marketing plans to attract new patients from the community-at-large and make the reopened unit a success.