Snow Angels Grace Virginia Storm

By Kristine Hartvigsen on February 19th, 2016

 As up to 36 inches of snow blanketed central Virginia last month during a record-setting blizzard caused by Winter Storm Jonas, several Ob Hospital Group obstetricians scrambled to make sure there was coverage at area hospitals to serve any pregnant women who might experience labor during the storm. These physicians went beyond the call to ensure uninterrupted coverage during the storm, and their teamwork is noteworthy.

Watching the snow falling outside her hospital on Friday of the storm, Dr. Lisa Bukovac, OBHG Team Lead at Winchester Medical Center, found herself in a predicament. The snow had prompted the cancellation of her husband’s flight home from a business trip, leaving their four children home alone as conditions worsened. Hearing of her situation, Dr. Sherri Franklin, OBHG Team Lead at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center near Richmond, quickly decided to drive to Winchester and relieve Dr. Bukovac so she could be home with her children.

Dr. Franklin ended up serving two back-to-back days working at Winchester Medical Center over the course of the storm. Commuting OBHG hospitalist Dr. Russell Handy also stayed, paying for an extra night in a hotel so he could staff the Winchester OBED on the last day of the storm. Meanwhile in Richmond, Dr. Valinda Nwadke stepped in to assist during Dr. Franklin’s absence and ended up spending three days providing critical OB/GYN coverage at St. Francis.

That same weekend, Dr. Julie Blommel, OBHG Team Lead at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, worked two back-to-back, 24-hour shifts to stand in for Dr. Jennifer Horton, who had gotten stuck in the snow. Dr. Blommel noted there were multiple successful deliveries over the snowy weekend. “When women come in during a snow storm, they mean it,” she quipped, alluding to the fact that there are more elective maternal “discomfort” visits when the weather is clear. “The nurses and everyone were so appreciative to have us there.”

These hospitalists nobly volunteered to ensure that their respective hospitals were fully covered during the blizzard, and that is just one way OBHG makes a difference at the community level. OBHG commends these doctors, whose selfless actions were deeply appreciated.

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