The Chicago Journal

Bridging Distances: St. Anthony Hospital’s Innovative Video Technology Connects New Mothers and Families Across Borders

St. Anthony
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A Touching Story of Connectivity Amidst New Beginnings

In the heart of St. Anthony Hospital, a transformative narrative unfolds as cutting-edge video technology fosters connections between new mothers and their families, transcending geographical boundaries. Maria Cervantes, a resilient 34-year-old mother expecting twin girls, found herself on the brink of an extraordinary moment: the birth of her daughters. In these poignant moments of anticipation, the power of the human connection was illuminated in the presence of her husband, Ricardo Carabez, who had been separated from his homeland of Mexico for over 17 years.

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The Innovation Unveiled: Enhancing Support for Migrant Communities

St. Anthony Hospital has embraced a pioneering initiative, deploying interactive televisions to unite mothers and their newborns with loved ones spanning across the United States and Mexico. This progressive endeavor represents just one facet of the comprehensive services the hospital provides to an increasingly diverse and dynamic migrant population in Chicago.

The Visionary Minds Behind the Technology: A Hospital President’s Vision

The inception of this visionary project can be attributed to Hospital President and CEO Guy Medaglia, who recognized the profound impact of connectivity on patients’ well-being. Raquel Prendkowski, the Chief Nursing Officer, sheds light on the development process. Partnering with MDM Healthcare, St. Anthony incorporated security measures into the screens, ensuring patient privacy and safety.

Empowering Connections Beyond Borders: Transformative Benefits

This revolutionary TV technology furnishes a hands-free conduit for patients, enabling them to maintain bonds with loved ones despite the constraints of medical care. Particularly for those unable to access mobile devices during critical moments or while cradling newborns, this innovation becomes a lifeline of emotional support. Notably, St. Anthony Hospital stands as the first institution in Chicago to champion this technology.

Empathy and Inclusivity: The Heart of St. Anthony’s Approach

“At St. Anthony, we spare no effort in making our patients feel at home and valued,” emphasizes Prendkowski. The hospital’s commitment to inclusivity is reflected in its diverse range of services, which extend beyond medical care. Prenatal education, bilingual breastfeeding and birthing classes, access to essential resources, and community wellness programs underscore the hospital’s mission to provide holistic care.

A Community-Wide Impact: Extending Support Beyond Hospital Walls

St. Anthony’s reach transcends its physical confines. The hospital’s resourceful case managers and community educators have embarked on a mission to support new arrivals, reaching out to nearby police districts. Legal guidance, connections to food resources, information on workers’ rights, and assistance with medical benefit applications empower migrants to access essential care and services.

A Diverse Approach to Care: Fostering Cultural Sensitivity

Angelica Ibarra, Director of Patient Access Services, sheds light on the hospital’s commitment to comprehensive care. Regardless of patients’ origins or insurance status, St. Anthony’s financial services team collaborates with self-pay patients to facilitate Medicaid applications. The hospital’s community wellness program further underscores its dedication to inclusivity.

A Vision Beyond Boundaries: The Future of Connectivity

Although currently focusing on connections to Mexico, St. Anthony Hospital envisions expanding its video technology outreach to encompass other countries. This advancement holds the promise of enriching the lives of countless families, transcending borders to unite loved ones during pivotal moments.

Cultivating a Supportive Environment: A Shared Journey of Healing

Amid the hum of medical machinery and the tender glow of rain-filtered light, a poignant scene unfolds as Carabez witnesses the first video call between his newborn twin daughters and their aunt thousands of miles away. The technology that monitored their heartbeats in their mother’s womb now brings together the family, fostering a powerful bond despite the miles that separate them.

As we celebrate the birth of Violeta and Julieta, we are reminded of the transformative potential of technology to bridge gaps and foster human connections, embodying St. Anthony Hospital’s commitment to compassion, inclusivity, and holistic care.