January 14, 2019

On January 10, leaders with Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women cut the ribbon on the facility’s new four-bed OB-GYN intensive care unit.

Located in the Labor and Delivery Unit on the ninth floor, the ICU offers a specialized, private space for high-risk expectant and postpartum mothers with conditions such as:

  • Sepsis
  • Peripartum bleeding
  • Hypertensive disorders
  • Placenta accreta
  • Maternal heart disease
  • Diabetes and other endocrine disorders
  • Cancer
  • Organ transplant

“This beautiful space gives our highly trained clinicians the perfect place to carry out specialized services we’ve offered to our high-risk patients since opening in 2012,” said Lynda Tyer-Viola, vice president of nursing. “Having comprehensive family centered perinatal services in such a setting will help us continue to make a dramatic difference in the lives of expectant mothers with critical complications of pregnancy.”

The Pavilion for Women is home to one of the nation’s few ICUs dedicated solely to obstetric critical care, and the only four-bed maternal ICU in the nation staffed 24/7 by a pulmonary critical care and maternal fetal care team embedded in a hospital’s labor and delivery unit.

The unit’s new space will offer critically ill obstetric patients the latest life-saving equipment and fetal monitoring systems and a dedicated ICU team including 24/7 critical care physicians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and an ICU-trained and ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support)-certified nursing staff.

The ICU team collaborates closely with Baylor College of Medicine subspecialties including cardiology, hematology and nephrology, among others. The unit and team is also one of the most experienced in the nation in the care of post fetal surgery mothers. Uniquely, expectant mothers with a history of cancer or a new gynecologic cancer diagnosis, will also benefit from the expert care and the most advanced treatment therapies available through our renowned colleagues in gynecologic oncology.

“While life threatening illness or medical conditions add to the complexity of any pregnancy, we are fortunate to have a multidisciplinary clinical team and resources that address the needs of both mother and fetus during this very crucial period,” said Dr. David Muigai, medical director of the maternal ICU. “We feel a deep sense of privilege and pride to be able to further contribute to the overall Texas Children’s mission by offering the highest quality and most comprehensive medical services available to expectant mothers and their babies.”

Dr. Manisha Gandhi, chief of maternal-fetal medicine, agreed and said at the ribbon cutting that she was extremely excited about the continued collaboration between disciplines that the new ICU will enable and encourage.

“The need for higher level, specialized care for women has grown exponentially,” Gandhi said. “Having a dedicated space for maternal ICU services will put us in a good place to better serve these patients during this critical time.”

OB-GYN-in-chief Dr. Michael Belfort said the new ICU is an extremely important tool that will help the specially trained clinicians in the unit take care of the sickest of the sick.

“Unfortunately, maternal mortality is increasing in the United States and Texas,” Belfort said. “With this unit, we are better able to care for those who need us the most.”

For more information about the Pavilion’s maternal ICU, the development of which was led by Liz Bolds, assistant clinical director of high-risk nursing, click here.

December 11, 2018

Dr. Carla Ortique, an OB/GYN with Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, was recently named physician of the year by the Houston Medical Forum, a component society of the National Medical Association.

The forum was established in 1926 to address the needs of physicians of African descent and their patients. Today, the Houston Medical Forum is the National Medical Association’s largest local affiliate. Its members represent a myriad of specialties and engage in a variety of activities that advance the art and practice of medicine as well as promote education and wellness in the community, eliminate health disparities and sustain physician viability.

“I feel incredibly blessed and honored to be recognized by this organization,” Ortique said.

Ortique earned a B.S. in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982 and her medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1986. Ortique completed an internship and residency in family medicine at the University of Illinois.

A strong interest in providing comprehensive care for women, coupled with the personal experience of having a sister diagnosed with breast cancer, resulted in Ortique undertaking a second residency program. She completed her training in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center in St. Paul, Minn., in 1995.

Ortique has been in the active practice of obstetrics and gynecology in Texas since August 1995. Board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology since 1997, she incorporates her family medicine training as well as training in complementary and alternative therapies to provide comprehensive care to female patients. Her areas of special interest include spirituality and medicine, general obstetrics, minimally invasive surgical procedures including hysteroscopy and laparoscopy, preventative health care and patient safety, guidance for perimenopausal and menopausal patients. Ortique also is interested in health equity and elimination of racial and ethnic health care disparities and elimination of preventable maternal deaths.