Thomas and Gray Hunter are grateful for the specialized women’s and newborn care they received at McLeod Regional Medical Center during the birth of their baby girl.
When the day finally came for Thomas and Gray Hunter to welcome their first child, Marion Gray, into the world, they fully expected a routine birth. There were no complications until the day of delivery.
Joy quickly turned to fear when the McLeod staff discovered the umbilical cord tightly wrapped around Marion’s neck. Gray’s physician quickly decided that emergency actions were needed to treat the baby.
“Both Marion and I lost a lot of blood,” explained Gray.
When Marion did not cry, the situation became even more frightful. The newborn was rushed to the McLeod Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she was given a blood transfusion.
Several hours later, Thomas and Gray visited Marion in the NICU. Marion’s skin, still blue from the lack of blood, made her “look so helpless with all the tubes and wires coming out of her,” recalled Gray.
Finally, Marion’s color returned. Although Marion was now in good condition, the stress of the day rendered Gray unable to produce breastmilk.
Knowing how vital breastfeeding is to the health of both the child and the mother, a McLeod Lactation Consultant worked with Gray on her breastfeeding techniques.
Thanks to its talented and dedicated labor and delivery staff, as well as the region’s only NICU, McLeod ensured not only that Gray was mother to a healthy baby girl, but that she and her child would reap the many benefits breastfeeding provides.
“The fact that McLeod has a NICU could have been the difference in life or death for Marion. I thank God for McLeod every night,” said Gray.
Thomas is also extremely thankful for the high level of care provided at McLeod Children’s Hospital, which would not be possible without support from the McLeod Health Foundation, he explained.
“The McLeod Health Foundation plays a crucial role in helping to ensure the availability of certain services within the McLeod Health system. After our daughter utilized the services of the Children’s Hospital, I have a much deeper appreciation for the impact each donor has on individual patients.”
This appreciation has led Thomas and Gray to become donors to the McLeod Foundation themselves.
“Contributions to the McLeod Health Foundation,” said Thomas, “allow you to have an impact on the community that is very tangible and extremely rewarding.”
The McLeod Health Foundation has been impacting the healthcare of those living in northeastern South Carolina through philanthropy since 1986. With the addition of McLeod Health Clarendon to the McLeod Health team of hospitals in 2016, the work of the Foundation now extends into Clarendon County and the surrounding communities.
“We have the opportunity to touch more than a million lives in the 15-county region we serve,” said Jill Bramblett, Executive Director of the McLeod Health Foundation. “We look forward to working with our healthcare teams and donors in Clarendon County to fund programs and services that support patient care at McLeod Health Clarendon.” Thanks to the dedicated efforts of community leaders who serve on the McLeod Foundation’s Clarendon Advisory Board, the Foundation is able to determine the specific needs of the patients who live in Clarendon County.
These members include Travis McIntosh, Chairman; Charlie Allen; Kelly Brown; Betty Coffey; Edward Frye; Louis Griffith; William Johnson; Frank Jones; Pat McNeil; Kay Prothro and Ron Wingard.
In 2016, the McLeod Foundation funded a number of projects at McLeod Health Clarendon totaling $212,000. These funds were used to purchase new state-of-the-art medical equipment and other items that enhance patient care at the hospital.
One area that benefitted from this funding was Labor and Delivery. The unit requested funds to purchase phototherapy overhead lights and a fiberoptic portable biliblanket for infant jaundice.
Jaundice is a common condition in newborn infants that can affect both full-term and premature babies. This temporary condition usually presents during the first week of a baby’s life causing the skin and whites of their eyes to appear yellow. Jaundice typically occurs because newborns produce an excess of bilirubin during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin is removed from the bloodstream by the liver. However, in a newborn the body may produce more bilirubin than the liver can process.
The most common form of treatment for infant jaundice is phototherapy or light treatment. During this process, light is used to eliminate bilirubin in the blood.
As the baby’s skin and blood absorb the light waves it changes the bilirubin so it can be passed out of the baby’s system through urine or stool.
“In the past, when a baby needed phototherapy for jaundice, bulky equipment prevented our team from being able to place all of the required equipment in a patient’s room. Understandably, this often led to separation anxiety for the family having to be apart from their newborn,” said Debi Love Ballard, Director of Labor and Delivery.
“Through the purchase of the phototherapy overhead lights and biliblanket, we are now able to keep infants requiring therapy and their families together.”
“Generous donations by our community, staff and volunteers allow the McLeod Foundation to fund projects that will benefit our patients and their families for years to come,” explained Carrie Anna Strange, Director of the McLeod Foundation at McLeod Health Clarendon. “The programs and services we support go beyond the hospital walls and reach straight into the heart of the communities we serve.”
The McLeod Foundation has embarked on “It’s Time,” a capital campaign for McLeod Health. This continues a commitment to excellence inspired by Dr. F. H. McLeod in 1899 when his vision for the Florence Infirmary began.
Support will help with the provision of the latest technology with 3D Mammography and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Monitors in addition to funds to supplement costs of construction for a new Emergency Department at McLeod Regional Medical Center. These important enhancements will ensure that McLeod Health offers the highest quality care to patients from the midlands to the coast.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Monitors
Time and again, grateful patients directly impacted by excellent health care wish to give back so others can have the same experience. For Amy Urquhart, the care given to her daughter in the McLeod Neonatal Intensive Care Unit seven years ago inspired her to support the McLeod NICU.
In June of 2010, Amy’s daughter Cate arrived six weeks early, weighing only four pounds. Amy had been diagnosed with preeclampsia and was in danger of suffering a stroke because of extremely high blood pressure. Understanding that delivering Cate early was the only way to reduce her risk of a stroke, Amy and her husband Derick accepted the decision knowing Cate would receive the best care possible in the McLeod NICU.
“Cate spent three weeks in the NICU, and I know she would not have thrived without this specialized care. The team of physicians and nurses wrapped their loving, skilled hands around Cate and helped guide us as new parents in how to care for our beautiful daughter,” said Amy.
“Often people take for granted what is important or what we have access to in Florence. Derick and I never expected to need the NICU, but we are grateful that McLeod has a Children’s Hospital with this level of care. It was wonderful and comforting to have these quality services so close to home.”
Amy and Derick’s support of the “It’s Time” campaign and the new NICU Monitors recently benefitted Amanda Allen’s daughter, Olivia. Like Amy, Amanda had developed preeclampsia but in a more severe form. At 30 weeks into her pregnancy, Amanda was hospitalized for blood pressure monitoring and testing. When she suddenly began experiencing the beginning stages of liver and kidney failure, the decision was to deliver Olivia early to save Amanda’s life.
“Olivia spent eight weeks in the McLeod NICU,” said Amanda. “I saw her for the first time 24 hours after birth, and it was an overwhelming moment. She looked peaceful, but there were so many machines, IV lines and monitors surrounding her. I felt like there was nothing I could do for her, which is difficult for a new mom.”
Amanda and her husband Harry quickly found comfort knowing Olivia was being cared for by a team of physicians and nurses who made them feel like family. “They shared in our jubilation when Olivia reached milestones, and they were a shoulder to cry on when she experienced a setback. When Olivia was discharged two months later, they really felt like an extension of our family,” added Amanda.
Through the generosity of donors like the Urquharts, the McLeod Foundation has purchased 38 new NICU monitors. These monitors are capable of providing more in-depth data on heart rhythm and oxygen flow as well as more accurate readings of a baby’s blood pressure. Additionally, the monitors feature the latest in pulse oximetry technology, which greatly aids in the prevention of retinopathy, a cause of blindness and other long-term health problems in premature babies. Other advantages of the new NICU monitors include: