BROKEN BOW—The babies are back in town! Following a two-year hiatus, the staff at Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center (JMMMMC) and the Physicians of the Central Nebraska Medical Clinic (CNMC) officially cut the ribbon on Tuesday to welcome back labor and delivery services to Broken Bow beginning December 1.
According to the JMMMMC website, “Doctor David Minnick, Doctor Julie Lindstrom, Doctor Katie Thompson and Melham Medical Center are happy to announce we will start delivering babies December 1, 2019.”
A ribbon cutting and open house were held on Tuesday evening to welcome Dr. Katie Thompson, a family practice physician who signed with CNMC in September 2017.
The suspension of the labor and delivery program was the result of a shortage in staff and physicians who could perform Cesarean sections (C-sections). Procedures were still conducted as needed but JMMMMC President/CEO Veronica Schmidt said the reintroduction of the labor and delivery program is something residents have been anxiously awaiting.
“Recruitment of a physician, particularly a physician that does family practice and delivers babies with C-sections–that was the big thing. We needed someone that could cover C-sections. You can’t say that you delivery babies and not have C-section coverage,” Schmidt said.
In an August interview with KCNI/KBBN, Schmidt said the demand is high for qualified physicians amongst rural towns who also want to deliver babies. She attributes the recruitment of doctors like Dr. Thompson to the commitment of clinic and hospital staff.
“It really is a shout out to the team here that brought all that together to Central Nebraska Medical Clinic for the great work they do and taking care of our community and staying committed to bringing that kind of talent to the area,” Schmidt said.
Dr. Thompson is originally from Valentine and studied at Wayne State College, obtained her medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and recently completed her family practice residency with the Sioux Falls Family Medicine Residency Program.
Having grown up in a rural area and following experience as a medical student in a Broken Bow rotation, Dr. Thompson knew she wanted to end up back in a small town to provide broad spectrum family medicine. She said she looks forward to being able to offer services to patients in Custer County and surround areas so that expectant parents do not have to drive out of town for care.
“I think being, you know, a younger female who has a family of my own there’s just kind of something very special and really cool about being able to bring life into this world and so being a part of that is really a wonderful experience,” Dr. Thompson said.
Dr. Thompson and her husband Blake have two sons, ages four and one.
Veronica Schmidt said nurses and physicians at the clinic and the hospital have been working side by side going through training to ensure a safe, comfortable, healthy delivery experiences for moms and family members.
Equipment has been upgraded and the two labor and delivery rooms, as well as recovery rooms, are prepared to welcome babies into the world beginning December 1.
Custer Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Andrew Ambriz broke down some of the numbers surrounding the reintroduction of Labor and Delivery to Broken Bow and its economic impact on the area. Stay tuned for more on that story.