Expansion for hospital may get aid Medical Center would get $600,000 ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY -- Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

February 01, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

County Executive Robert R. Neall has announced that his cash-strapped administration wants to give $600,000 to help Anne Arundel Medical Center build a new women's hospital on Jennifer Road.

The money would be paid in three annual $200,000 installments from the county's capital budget beginning with the coming fiscal year. The County Council still must approve the allocation.

"I have become infamous about giving bad news," said Mr. Neall, appearing Saturday at the hospital's fund-raising event in Annapolis. "So you may be astounded to hear that I am giving money away."

Mr. Neall, who is known for his fiscal frugality, even poked fun at himself, telling audience members that he won't ever need the services of the hospital's heart specialists. "If you've been reading the newspapers, you know I don't have a heart."

But, he said, "In this time of fiscal austerity, this money means a lot. I can assure you, this medical center has a friend in Maryland."

The medical center, which opened in 1902 in a cottage at Franklin and Cathedral streets, already has raised $6.2 million toward the new building and other improvements to the hospital's main facility in downtown Annapolis. With the new drive, "Celebrate the Future," hospital officials hope to raise the remaining $2.4 million by June 30.

The money will be used for a women's hospital, which will be located next to the center's existing Medical Park on Jennifer Road, near the Annapolis Mall. Labor, delivery and recovery services will relocate to the three-story facility, which is expected to be completed in 1995.

Sharon Rossi, a registered nurse and clinical director of prenatal services, said the existing downtown facility is too crowded for the 3,000 babies delivered there every year.

"The facility was designed for half that," Ms. Rossi said, adding that the eight labor and delivery rooms are too small to handle family members who want to watch a birth. "If you think of the people who were in the delivery room 20 years ago, it was only the doctor, the nurse and the patient."

But today, Ms. Rossi said, the hospital wants to create a home-like birthing ward where a woman will stay in the same room from the moment she arrives until she is ready to leave with her newborn.

The women's hospital will have 22 "spacious rooms" and an upgraded, critical-care nursery so that fewer infants born with problems will have to go to Baltimore for treatment.

But officials said the center will serve all women, from childhood through old age.

Moving obstetrics out of the downtown building will free much-needed space there, allow the emergency room to expand and open the way for a new Cardiac Catheterization Lab, to be directed by Dr. James Ross.

The women's hospital will be named after Rebecca M. Clatanoff, who died in July, just five months after being told of the honor at the center's 90th anniversary Founders Day Celebration. She had been closely associated with the hospital for more than 40 years, starting in 1949 when she headed a committee that raised nearly $600,000.

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