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Samaritan sets regional standard for maternity care  

Published on: November 21, 2023

According to numbers recently detailed in the American Journal of Managed Care, inadequate prenatal care continues to be a problem for hospitals across the U.S. Despite spending the most on healthcare amongst its high-income country peers, there continues to be a national escalation of poor maternity services and an inability to provide the best care for America’s most precious patients.  

But at Samaritan Medical Center, the focus on care for mothers and their children has never wavered.   

  Set within the Car-Freshner Center for Women and Children and bolstered by the capabilities of its dedicated team, the hospital continues to provide superior maternity services that support new and expanding Northern New York families, every day.  

“Samaritan helps deliver more babies than other local hospitals with the largest OB/GYN offices connected to our maternity unit,” says Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mario Victoria. “This sheer volume of births makes our team very knowledgeable and prepared.”  

This commitment to comprehensive maternity services continues to set Samaritan apart from its industry peers and ascend in an opposite trajectory from aforementioned U.S. trends. But with a focused approach on neonatal care, support of military families and providing services to mothers and their families, the hospital has a multi-pronged approach to remain a leader in supporting childbirth—and bringing more happy and healthy children into the world.  

   A regional leader in neonatal care  

Samaritan’s excellence in maternity care starts with its Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a high level of care for a newborn and the only one of its kind in the region. This allows the hospital to also lead Northern New York in comprehensive labor and delivery services and deliver and care for most babies locally with an average of 1,500 each year.   

“Our NICU is uniquely equipped to care for newborns that need extra care after birth, so that they can go home and continue to thrive,” says Dr. Karl J. Komar, a neonatologist at Samaritan for the last 29 years. “I am part of the team that helps ease families concerns and care for these tiniest patients. It is a true honor and something I take great pride in.” Dr. Komar and Dr. Craig Guerin, who has been at Samaritan for the past 9 years, are the lead physicians of the NICU. 
The unit’s capabilities are essential in caring for the tiniest patients, consisting of babies delivered at 32 weeks and older that need a little extra care before they can go home. Amenities in the newly renovated space include 12 private rooms for family bonding, state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to connect when families can’t be together and 24-hour neonatology coverage by Samaritan’s highly trained staff. This specialized unit helps us to be a regional leader in maternity care and providing patients and families with critical support when they need it most.   

Support for military families  

With its proximity to Fort Drum, Samaritan Medical Center has the honor of providing our full range of maternity services to military families. Unlike other military installations, our connection is unique because Fort Drum does not offer all healthcare services. Samaritan Caregivers provide a supportive environment for all families who need local assistance.   

“Fort Drum’s OB/GYN office is connected to our hospital and their doctors and midwives deliver newborns at Samaritan,” says Tom Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan. “Our hospital maternity services lay the foundation for how closely we work with Fort Drum and how intertwined we are. Samaritan provides most of the acute care services to our miliary community, and we take great pride in this unique relationship.”  

Samaritan is proud to collaborate with the Soldier Family Readiness Division, which works in tandem with the hospital to offer a variety of familial supportive services, including the Fort Drum New Parent Support Program. This program offers expectant military parents and parents of newborns and young children the opportunity to learn new skills as parents or improve old ones to better accommodate their needs.   

Stronger families make for a stronger community, and Samaritan is dedicated to supporting this progress.  

Caring for the Northern New York community  

As the Northern New York community grows, so does Samaritan’s role in providing the best care possible to mothers and their children.   

The Car-Freshner Center for Women and Children features newly renovated mother/baby rooms; new labor and delivery rooms; two dedicated C-section suites; lactation specialists for assistance with breastfeeding; an entire nursing staff who specialize in maternal and infant care; reserved parking and a dedicated entrance for families; and even a way to commemorate each birth with its Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Giving Wall.   

Before the day of delivery, Samaritan also provides a series of free, classes, focused on such topics as the specifics of pregnancy, breastfeeding, labor and caring for a new family. Each complements the commitment the hospital makes to its maternity services and in turn, the growing Northern New York community it serves.  

“Samaritan has invested heavily in our maternity services over the years,” says Beth Fipps, vice president of the Samaritan Foundation and community services. ”The Foundation and our community role as a Children’s Miracle Network hospital have allowed us to create the Car-Freshner Center for Women and Children with families in mind and to purchase needed equipment. With the area’s only NICU, the largest maternity department, and a dedicated pediatric unit, we feel fortunate to care for these patients locally.”   


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