June 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Welcome, Baby Hadassah, Born at St. Mary’s General Hospital

(Courtesy of SMGH) On Wednesday, July 7, Mr. Moshe and Mrs. Rivky Bartel traveled from Lakewood, New Jersey, to Passaic for a doctor’s visit with Dr. Daniel Hakimi as they were expecting their sixth child, and she was ready to deliver—NOW! So Dr. Hakimi scheduled her at St. Mary’s General Hospital, and she was admitted late afternoon. The baby was delivered that night around 10 p.m.,—a healthy baby girl!

“I got an email on Thursday from Moshe, the baby’s daddy, who wanted to know about staying at St. Mary’s General Hospital over Shabbos,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison. “I introduced him to the amenities available for frum Jews at the hospital, including the Shabbos Room with beds and food stocked by Bikur Cholim, Shabbos door, path and elevator, glatt kosher meals, candles for licht bentching. I told him how all staff were educated on how to deal with Orthodox Jewish patients, and if in doubt they will call me or Rabbi Yosef Levy. And that we have 30+ shuls in the kehila and, if needed, we have many families who can accommodate relatives.”

Dr. Hakimi was with the couple when they arrived at St. Mary’s General Hospital to be admitted, and he took Moshe from the registration line to show him the Shabbos room and what was available for him. St. Mary’s General Hospital was new to the couple as their other five children were born at either Hackensack University Medical Center or Holy Name, so they had some concerns. Rivky was admitted and delivered their baby girl at 10 p.m. that night.

Moshe stayed with her until the morning, when he went with his father, who lives in Passaic, to shul, which was a couple of blocks away. And, of course, since it was Thursday, a day for Torah reading and in keeping with Jewish tradition, he named their new baby Hadassah.

On Erev Shabbos Moshe joined his wife and baby for their Shabbos meal, where they were offered glatt kosher options. The kitchen sent up two meals for Mrs. and Mr. Bartel, which was a surprise, as they never had that with their other five children at the other two hospitals. St. Mary’s General offers glatt kosher fleishig or chalav Yisrael dairy meals, either in-house or from local delis. Of course, at the start of Shabbos, Rivky was given candles (halachically approved electric) for licht bentching, which was also a first for the couple.

The fully renovated Maternal-Child Health Center at St. Mary’s General Hospital features a Level II Nursery specializing in the delivery and care of high-risk infants born as early as 32 weeks. The highlights of the unit include private patient rooms with full bathrooms, overnight guest accommodations, an electronic infant security system, and a special dinner for new parents.

Moshe’s parents live in Passaic, a couple of blocks from the hospital, so he slept there and davened Shacharis with his father the next morning. “I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the hospital is in the eruv,” said Moshe. “That allowed me to bring cholent from my parent’s home to the hospital on Shabbos. And the Shabbos accommodations available made it easy for me to enter and move through the hospital.

“The staff in Labor & Delivery were super, super nice. When they saw me outside the door, they buzzed me in, so I didn’t have to break Shabbos. Also, Penina Samet, with Bikur Cholim, was a big help and she showed me the Shabbos room and how Bikur Cholim stocked the food and there were siddurim and reading material available. The Shabbos door lock was very convenient and seeing the Rashi script Hebrew letters made it easy to unlock the door. While I didn’t need to sleep there, it was a big relief knowing that it was available.”

For the past two years, the staff at St. Mary’s General Hospital has gone through in-depth education programs on how to work with the Orthodox Jewish community. The program, titled “Understanding Judaism: The Professional’s Guide in a Hospital Environment” [1], was designed to educate staff on the restrictions and differences of Orthodox Jews. It covered diseases genetic to Jews, medical needs of the community, resources available, general patient information, modest (“tznius”) dress, prayer, medication/procedures, life and death, birth, Sabbath and Jewish holidays, eruv map, Hatzolah/volunteer EMS Corp, and lots of Q&A. It was not uncommon to have 3-4 hours of Q&A at these education sessions, even though some staff had just finished a shift!

“The staff really paid attention to these lessons, and, if in doubt would not guess but would contact Rabbi Levy or me before proceeding,” said Matyjewicz. “In two cases where people in the hospice passed away, the staff did not touch the bodies. Rather they contacted chevra kadisha and me, and the patient’s rabbi if known. And as discussed herein, they were cognizant of frum patients and would accommodate them so they wouldn’t break Shabbos or Yom Tov.”

Moshe continued: “The entire staff were genuinely nice, very flexible, accommodating and respectful of our needs. Nurses were coming in over Shabbos to see if my wife needed anything, knowing she may not be able to ring the buzzer. They were all very attentive and respectful of our ways, nothing like what we experienced elsewhere, where there were too many rules and strict adherence! The medication delivery was done very well and the nurses were good about it. If she needed pain medication, the nurses accommodated her according to doctor’s orders. One nurse, Renee Weinstein, was frum and was very helpful. Interesting to note that her son learned in my father-in-law’s yeshiva! On Shabbos they even changed the baby for us, as wringing a wet cloth is forbidden and we didn’t have baby wipes. When Shabbos ended we were able to do Havdalah!

“What was really impressive was the discharge process. At the other hospitals we would spend an hour or two to be discharged. Not at St. Mary’s General; we were out in no time, and pleasantly surprised. Overall, our experience at St. Mary’s General Hospital was excellent, five stars! We heard that there were a couple of doctors and some residents living in Passaic-Clifton who may not like St. Mary’s General, but they should go there to see for themselves the excellent service! It was our first time, but definitely will not be our last!”

And the other five children are happy to see their new sister, but even happier to have mommy home! To their parents: May your daughter and all your children grow up with a life of Torah, chuppah and maasim tovim and may you see nachas from all of your children! May we only share simchas together.

For the last four years in a row, St. Mary’s General has been the recipient of the Healthgrades™ Five-Star Award (2016–2019) for both Vaginal Delivery and C-Section Delivery. In addition, St. Mary’s General was awarded Gynecologic Surgery Excellence Award (2018, 2019), making St. Mary’s General one of only six hospitals to receive this distinction in New Jersey.

St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred—is among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety! A center of excellence for maternal-child, the hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has had more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at [email protected].

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