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The Perfect Storm

A combination of vision, leadership, teamwork and commitment to community helped the Labor and Delivery Team at San Luis Valley Health provide excellent service to a pair of expectant mothers just over one week ago. Leeann Buxman gave birth to Kolton Buxman on February 22nd at San Luis Valley Health Regional Medical Center, a month premature. Shortly after birth, Kolton was having trouble breathing.

Dr. Bethany Kolb, Dr. Mikaila Pence, Dr. Kris Steinberg (Valley-Wide Health Systems) and Jayne Schiffer, CNM, led the team at San Luis Valley Health with this delivery and diagnosed Kolton with Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a condition that affects premature babies. Without surfactant, a substance that gives elasticity to the lungs and helps reduce surface tension, or a ventilator, the condition can be deadly. The San Luis Valley Health team put Kolton on medication, and a team from St. Francis Medical Center in Colorado Springs was called to offer more advanced care.

San Luis Valley Health has an affiliation agreement with Centura Health that was signed in 2010 to enhance clinical services and coordination of care for patients and their families in the San Luis Valley.

“At San Luis Valley Health, our role is to be ready when our community needs us,” stated Chief Executive Officer Konnie Martin. “Our partnership with Centura Health was signed so we could be prepared for situations just like this, and we appreciate the excellent effort and service that the St. Francis team provided.”

Dr. Bethany Kolb is shown helping out in the Labor and Delivery Department, as the team delivered 17 babies in one week.

Dr. Bethany Kolb is shown helping out in the Labor and Delivery Department, as the team delivered 17 babies in one week.

As Valley residents may remember, it had begun to snow hard that weekend and the team of three from Colorado Springs braved a five-hour trip to make it to offer support, due to the weather preventing travel by air ambulance. As fate would have it, just as the team arrived another mother arrived three months before her due date. The team helped with that birth and then drove that newborn back to Colorado Springs. Janet Rae Wilson, a neonatal nurse practitioner at St. Francis, stayed behind, caring for him in Alamosa until he left.

Kolton arrived in Colorado Springs the following day, Monday, February 23rd, and has been improving ever since. Just one week later, Leeann stated that he was having his first bottle and seemed to be doing much better.

“What really should be recognized is the vision, leadership, and persistence by San Luis Valley Health’s leadership,” said Gordon Hildebrant, Director of Outreach for Centura Health. “That is what is behind this happening.”

Adding to the whirlwind of activity was the fact that during the week these two babies were born, San Luis Valley Health delivered 17 babies. An average week sees around 10 births.

“I am proud of the entire team that was involved in providing care to these patients,” said Martin. “We all, Centura/St. Francis Hospital, San Luis Valley Health, and most importantly the babies and their families, got a positive outcome under some challenging conditions.”