BREMERTON, WA, UNITED STATES
Story by Douglas Stutz
A near record snowfall, icy roadways and freezing temperatures did not deter Navy culinary specialists from helping care for admitted patients at Naval Hospital Bremerton.
When a recent winter storm curtailed services at many naval bases across the Kitsap Peninsula, Culinary Specialists Third Class Henry Roman and Anthony Roth trekked in on a stormy Saturday morning to ensure all Labor and Delivery patients were provided nutritional needs during their stay.
“Bottom line; they don’t come in, those patients don’t eat. They came in and took care of business. Neither of them were on duty that weekend, but they both could get here. They rogered up, took the responsibility and ran with it,” said Chief Culinary Specialist Donald Simpkins, Nutrition Management leading chief petty officer.
“The service our galley provides is vitally important to our patients, and also to our staff. Without them, our patients can’t eat. Whether in labor or post-partum, a mom needs nutrition to supply nutrition,” echoed Lt. Keerstin Whitefield, 4OB department head.
NHB/NMRTC Bremerton’s Labor and Delivery delivered 396 in 2020, numerically less than the 503 from the year before, yet just as each has specific pregnancy needs, there can also be distinctive dietary requirements. Towards that obligation, Roth and Roman worked from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day, providing breakfast, lunch and dinner servings to one mother in labor and a mom and newborn couplet.
“After getting here through the snow, they broke down each patient’s nutritional needs and made sure that all their nutritious requirements were met including safeguarding against any possible allergies. Every patient under their nutrition care was provided wholesome, balanced meals,” Simpkins said.
For Roth, a Denver, Colo. native, the weekend snow was simply a reminder of home.
“I have 4-wheel drive, which 99 percent of us learn is good to have during a Colorado winter. It was really no big problem for me to make it in,’ said Roth, noting that as soon as he was on the job he checked the number of patients, their dietary/nutritional needs and if there was any allergies.
“We gathered the supplies and ingredients for meals and made sure there was snack bags for each patient with some sort of fruit – mango, peach, apple sauce – jam and jelly, peanut butter, and bread,” Roth added.
Roman, from Tampa, Fla., heard on Friday the inclement weather might cause problems for duty crew to get to work. He was ready to step in if needed, being a short walk away currently living in the command’s bachelor enlisted quarters.
“We even had one staff member get stuck in the snow. They needed me. Coming in was the right thing to do. I like my rate and was ready,” said Roman.
Nutritional needs to maintain a healthy pregnancy – before, during and after childbirth – are essential for the new mom and newborn.
“Childbirth forces the body to work hard and is roughly equivalent to running a marathon. This equates to a lot of burned calories. Nutrition after childbirth is essential because it can help a mother muster the energy for weeks of sleepless nights ahead, caring for the new addition, physical recovery from the labor itself, and breastfeeding. Providing patients a meal with a variety of foods from each of the basic food groups is part of our Galley commitment to patient care and excellence,” explained Lt. Lorna H Brown Nutrition Management department head, registered dietitian and certified breastfeeding specialist.
Along with helping to care for prospective and postpartum mothers, there are also a number of resources offered at NHB to anyone eligible to improve their nutritional intake and eating habit(s). The Nutrition Clinic offers one-on-one consultations and a variety of classes including Basic Nutrition, Fundamentals of Diabetes, Diabetes and Healthy Eating, Gestational Diabetes, and Prenatal Nutrition.