Last scheduled baby delivery at Trident Medical happening Monday

After welcoming more than 69,000 babies into the world over the last 44 years, hospital hands at Trident Medical Center are preparing Monday to deliver one of the facility's last newborns.

Berkeley County resident Christen Gandolfo is scheduled to deliver her third child and first boy via C-section at 12:30 p.m. today, according to Trident spokesperson Rod Whiting. Named after his dad, Dean Gandolfo III will join his two older siblings.

After Monday, all of Trident Health System's births will occur at Summerville Medical Center. Both hospitals, along with Centre Pointe Emergency and Moncks Corner Medical, are part of Trident Health.

The change is part of Trident's Health's consolidation of women's and children's services at the Summerville facility. A special ceremony commemorating the North Charleston-based hospital's Labor and Delivery unit occurred last month.

The $61 million Trident Health project has also included expansion of Summerville hospital's obstetrics and neonatal care services. Trident officials said rapid Lowcountry growth, only expected to ramp up in coming years, has created the need for increased and improved healthcare services for area women and children.

The two-story Women's Pavilion is 50,000 square feet, with space for 30 additional beds, new labor and delivery rooms, neonatal ICU rooms, operating rooms and preoperative surgical areas. In addition, the Summerville hospital has increased its number of physicians performing pediatric surgeries and pediatric intensive care services, according to Trident officials.

The expansion is also prompting the Flowertown facility to seek a NICU level-three status. The hospital is currently operating a level II Neonatal ICU with a board-certified neonatologist and staff.

A level III status will allow Summerville Medical to treat newborns weighing less than 3.3 pounds and delivered earlier than 32 weeks. It will also aid babies needing special equipment for breathing assistance.

But Summerville Medical isn't just targeting women and children; officials said they are striving to improve healthcare for the entire community and that's why an ER expansion project is also underway to decrease wait times. Construction on the $24 million initiative commenced in April and is occurring in phases, with an anticipated completion date of August 2020. The ER expansion will increase the unit's capacity from 28 to 43 beds, including 10 pediatric beds and add to the hospital’s lab, pharmacy and dietary services.

Last year, Summerville Medical celebrated 25 years serving the community.