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Chapel Hill hospitals

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My littlest just got out of the hospital here in NYC for a ferocious asthma attack and now that we are home and planning for our big move again, I am wondering what the hospitals are like in Chapel Hill. I only go to one ER here because this particular hospital has never given me any grief about breastfeeding past a year, co-sleeping in the hospital, and not vaxing. I am hoping that we won't have to visit a hospital again any time soon, but it occured to me that if we have to go right after moving there I would have no idea which hospital would be more understanding of our family and which one might place heavy regulations on us.

Does anyone have any experiences with the hospitals there or have heard any stories? I am still a little shell shocked from the past week, but I have to get this all together... Thank you so much!
post #2 of 13
I've had great experiences at UNC. I"d definitely recommend going via UNC Family Practice, which is very open to "alternative" parenting decisions. good luck!
post #3 of 13
I second the recommendation for UNC, everyone I know has had good experiences there. They are very understanding to alternative parenting as far as I know.
post #4 of 13
No advice, of course, but I wanted to send you a hug. Your poor LO. I hope everything is OK now.
post #5 of 13
sweetpeasmama, so sorry your little one had to go to the ER.

There is only one hospital in Chapel Hill. It's a huge teaching hospital with an excellent reputation and a number of specialty hospitals, including a Women's Hospital and a Children's Hospital under it's wing, but it's all one big complex. Here's a linky: http://www.unchealthcare.org/site . (All the hospitals that say N.C. are UNC in Chapel Hill. Rex is in Raleigh, but recently came under UNC Hospitals jurisdiction.)

Nearby in Durham is Duke hospitaland Durham Regional, which are both run by Duke. Duke hospital has an excellent national reputation, too, with folks coming from all over the country/world for specialized care.

This area has a very big conventional medicine reputation. Durham calls itself "the City of Medicine". I am sure there are some doctors in all the area hospitals who would give you grief over co-sleeping and breastfeeding and non-vaxing, BUT there are a lot of folks who do all those things here, too, so you may very well run into those folks at the hospital, too. Generally, I don't tell if they don't ask and after a certain age people just don't ask if you're breastfeeding or co-sleeping any more. There are a lot of alternative practitioners here, too, so don't let the big conventional med reputation alarm you. You can find lots of other kinds of health care here, too.

UNC is striving to be family friendly and encourages all babies born there to room in with their moms and encourages breastfeeding, etc. I think it would be fine in an emergency (although I try to avoid hospitals in general). NC does not have a philosophical vax exemption and as a whole the state is very pro vax (again, there are plenty of folks in this area who do not vax) so you have to have a religious or medical exemption. The medical is very hard to come by (your dr has to recommend it), but a lot of folks have the religious exemption which is nothing more than a statement that it's against your religious beliefs. If I were to end up in the ER with my kids I would just try to avoid the question because I would worry that even if I said I had a religious exemption the drs would not be happy about it. Some, I'm sure, wouldn't mind, but it's such a hot button issue that I would rather not deal with it. If they push you, though, you can just tell them you have a religious exemption and there's nothing more they can do.

Overall, if I had to go to a hospital, I'd go to UNC, but, of course, I'd rather not! I think Duke has a more interventionist approach to birth and other things. Sometimes it's appropriate (cancer, etc), but overall I think I'd prefer UNC. My dad was at Duke for 3 months, though, so that's probably coloring my perception. Cafeteria's not bad, though!
post #6 of 13
My perception was that Duke is not very alternative-parenting friendly, because of the extreme interventionist-sounding tour we had of the birthing facilities. BUT when my daughter was admitted to Duke (at age 3; that is, not a baby), on the intake form were three boxes for sleeping arrangements--get this!--"crib," "own bed," and "parents' bed." I nearly dropped my teeth that they acknowledged it in a medical setting. The nurse also didn't flinch when I said parents' bed (even though, like I said, she's a pretty big girl). I slept in the bed with her while there and they did not say anything, or even do that eye-rolling insinuation thing. Several nurses walked into the room while she was nursing, too, and I nursed her openly in the recovery room after a procedure (Mother Nature's sedative, ha).

As far as children's services go, I will give Duke an A+ in what they do to make the children's stay very comfortable and easy. The kids have their own ER now, and even when we had to go to the regular ER, they triaged her past all the adults.

Good luck & sorry to hear about your son. (And welcome in advance.)

(btw, if you live in/near Chapel Hill, either UNC Hospitals or Duke Medical Center will be in range for you, especially if you end up in the middle part between Durham & Chapel Hill. We have a lot of medical choices here.)
post #7 of 13
Another vote for loving UNC!
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much!!! It has been such an emotional and stressful week, I just needed to have this information to make our transition into a new place just a little bit less scary.

At the hospital here, I just simply told them that there was no way he could sleep in one of their cribs and that he exclusively sleeps with us. They told me I had to promise not to leave him asleep in it alone and that was that. And as for nursing him in front of the nurses and during all of the treatments- once they realized how much it calmed it down the nurses would ask him to nurse whenever they came in the room. (One nurse said she was suprised that I could still make milk. A nurse in pediatrics, no less...) So it's pretty amazing to hear about Duke being so open to sleeping with the kiddo without a problem.
post #9 of 13
My experience of emergency room visits with kids over the last 11 years has left me with a definite preference for UNC ER over Duke's. I feel like we been triaged more efficiently, taken back to a room more quickly and just had a better experience overall at UNC.

Even though I live a lot closer to Duke, if there's time, I will always go to UNC's ER.

thankfully it's been awhile since I had to take any kids to the ER, so Duke may have improved. However my husband went there with a heart attack in April of 2007 and several rather simple steps were missed (like giving him an aspirin) while they were waiting hours for the blood work to show he had a heart attack that might've prevented further damage, so color me still not very impressed with Duke.
post #10 of 13
Jennifer, I'm not sure if you are talking about adult ER in the comparison, but it's our experience that adults often end up waiting forever in the ER at either place.... A friend waited for 9 hours with terribly painful gallstones (she eventually was admitted surgery) and my hubby waited for about that long with a finger sliced to the bone. The guy sitting beside him had his fingers "injured" (I won't be graphic, but it's a common injury [don't eat mass-produced chicken]) in a chicken processing machine, and sat there with him that long, too. I'd hope a heart attack (!) would be triaged to the top, but in comparison to other things that seem pretty serious to me, things like gunshot wounds and car accidents take precedence.

But our experience at the ERs at both hospitals is that they take kids back quickly. Maybe it's just our luck, or maybe there are less kids getting hurt. I'd like to think they plan to help kids faster.

I've also noticed if you take an ambulance in, you get faster service than if you are taken in by car. I guess they consider it more serious. ?
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by supervee View Post
BUT when my daughter was admitted to Duke (at age 3; that is, not a baby), on the intake form were three boxes for sleeping arrangements--get this!--"crib," "own bed," and "parents' bed."
How awesome supervee! Very cool.
post #12 of 13
Indeed. Duke is growing on me (shhh, don't tell our Tarheel buddies).
post #13 of 13
for laying babies :-p I'd suggested Durham Regional, but UNC is supposed to be great. everyone is always friendly there. I don't like the OBGYN practice though. I am unfamiliar with their children's stuff but I've only heard good things.

UNC Family Practice is super fab though and I'd highly highly recommend them.
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