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Providence's St. Vincents vs. Legacy's Good Sam

With one of us urbanMamas recently having another new babe (at Providence's St. V's) and with another one of us urbanMamas expecting again, deliveries are in the forefront of our minds.  We all know that first-hand experience can be oh-so helpful when making some choices, so an urbanMama is wondering if you have thoughts to share on Providence's St. Vincent's Hospital and/or Legacy's Good Samaritan.  Have you delivered there?  Have positive or negative feedback to share?

We've lived in Portland for just a couple of years now. When we first moved here, based on the wonderful reviews from others on this site, I chose Dr. Jenna Murray as my new OBGYN. I've only seen Dr. Murray for a couple of annuals so far but have been very happy with her. Now we are considering a second child and I am re-evaluating my OBGYN and affiliated hospital choice as we have since moved close to Providence St. Vincents and the offices of Women's Healthcare Associates. A friend gave me a glowing recommendation for one of the new docs there (Dr. Garvie-Loveland), and I know there are a few other highly recommended doctors in the practice. So, while I feel like I've gotten a good sense of the doctor issue, I'm now wondering about the hospital choice. Am I better off switching to St. Vincents and WHA due to the convenience factor or is there a good reason to stick with Dr. Murray and Legacy Good Sam? Any feedback anyone could offer on one hospital versus the other in terms of how nice the hospitals are, quality of care, rooms, etc.? FWIW, this second child would either be a VBAC or another c-section.


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Take a tour of both places. That decided it for us. We delivered two babies at Good Sams even though I could literally walk to St. V's (a long walk, but I'm sure my ancestors could have done it whilst in labor) One labor was uncomplicated, the other had major issues at the end (everybody was fine, but I was in ICU for a while). I was treated with respect throughout and felt listened to and cared for properly.

The rooms were bigger at Good Sams, the staff was nicer, and I had issues with the cross that would have been over my bed at St. V's. Your needs / issues may be different. This was also 3 years ago.

Go take a tour to see where you feel more comfortable.

St V's is farther from my home, but I've been really happy with WHA as a practice (both Lori Scoclyz as a nurse practicioner and Laura Morrison as my OB/GYN).

I've heard good sam has nicer rooms but I was fine with the room at St Vs (to Betsys point I don't remember seeing a cross over my bed or much else religious despite delivering my daughter on Good Friday and bringing her home on Easter).

The kicker for me was that I know a woman who delivered her daugher 4 weeks early at Good Sam - and her daughter had to be transferred to Emanuel due to a better NICU while the mom recovered at Good Sam. St Vs has the same level NICU as Emanuel/OHSU that that seemed much more important then a larger room.

I had my son at St. V's and my mid-wife is part of the WHA practice. I loved both experience's but I have heard that Good Sam's rooms are WAAAAAAAY better especially for any Daddies that chose to stay the night.

I'm a zip-in-and-zip-out sort of birther as I'm not a fan of hospitals and have never had complicated births. That being said, I thought St. V's was just fine. My husband wouldn't let me go to Prov (NE Glisan) because they don't have a NICU. And a shout out to Robin Barrett, OBGYN extraordinaire.

I also live a lot closer to St. V's but delivered my two boys at Good Sam. I have nothing but great things to say about both of my births there. Also, my husband loved it since he could walk to great food places and get take out while we were in the hospital.

I, too, choose Dr Murray after reading all the great reccommendations on UM. My 1st was at St. V's, and full of many reasons to not return. The scheduled section with Dr Murray at Good Sam was better than I could have ever imagined, even down to the great(if you can you believe it) vegetarian menus.

I actually miss Dr. Murray now that I only pop in for annuals. She almost makes me wish I was preggers again ;)

Good luck!

I forgot to mention that we live in inner SE, and it was still totally worth the trek for us :)

Best of luck again!

We lived in inner NE when I was a patient of Dr. Carol Suzuki , she is part of the the practice that Dr. Murray is in. I loved that office, all the Dr.'s were amazing. And Good Sam was epic! The food was amazing ( griled salmon) and the nurses top notch! They are also very doula friendly as I had Jesse From Mother Tree Birth as my doula and she was very welcomed there. If I was to have another child, I would never go anywhere but Good Sam and the Doctors at Dr. Murrays office!

Good Luck!

I had my son at Good Sam last April--Dr. Laura Korman rocks! the nurses the staff, lactation consultants- everyone was fantastic! Big shout out to the nurses--FYI Saint Cupcakes were brought in by my husband as a thank you--they loved that...just like little kids.
The private room, even the food. Would do it again--that is if I decide to have another.
I would take the tour and listen to other mom's stories--but again everyone has different experiences. The best part for us is that my OB/GYN was across the street so it was ever so easy for her to pop in two times or more a day...same with our Peds Dr.

I gave birth at St. V's (we have Kaiser, so Good Sam wasn't an option) and it was fine, but we had to go to Hillsboro to get our daughter's birth certificate. No problem for me, since I work out there, but may be an issue for some. The reasoning was that St. V's is technically in Beaverton, therefore Washington County.

Had a great experience at Good Sam the first time, and not at all the second time. I did not find them to be doula friendly (actually had the same exact doula as Jennifer who posted above) and almost seemed bothered to have a doula there. It may have been the OB (who was on call and not my original doctor), but it wasn't a very good experience, especially compared to the first time. Yes, the rooms are big and the food decent, but the care from the doc and nurses was just ok, and in my opinion, the CARE is the most important part when you have a baby!

Good Sam did not seem completely open to me trying to have a VBAC--something very important to look into (how supportive the hospital is of this "risk") when choosing--I wish I had done a bit more research and found a place that was more supportive of this. I have heard good things about OHSU being fairly supportive of people wanting to try for a VBAC.

I have several friends that have had Dr. Murray deliver their kids and they have nothing but amazing things to say about her. Personally, I delivered at Providence Portland and the jet-tubs were a lifesaver for my natural birth.

There are only 3 hospitals in the Portland area that will perform a VBAC, St. V's, OHSU, and Emmanuel. These are the only hospitals in town equipped to handle high risk L&Ds. I had a VBAC at St. V's and had a great delivery experience. The nurse was more than I could have ever asked for and I was thrilled with the outcome. But the aftercare...not good at all. About three hours after delivering they wheeled me and my belongings to a tiny room that shouted 'don't get too comfortable, you're going home soon'. My husband had to sleep on a chair that folded out into a tiny bed, everything was very cramped, and the food was terrible. I delivered my first at Prov Portland though and had a great experience, so I may have been biased.

I delivered at St. V's and ended up having a c-section. The birthing rooms are a good size, but if you need to stay longer due to c-sections or other complications, then the rooms they put you in are pretty small. Hard to have people visit and Husbands stay overnight. Although, at the time I heard that wouldn't be the case for very long as they were currently remodeling the maternity ward. Does anyone know if that ever happened?

My first choice is Good Sam. Hospital! I was born at Good Sam. and my aunt was the Rn in the delivery room. I have a personal connection, so I am a little biased.

Dr. Murray is my OB and she has delivered both of my babies at Good Sam. Hospital and will deliver another this summer. She is absolutely great!

The staff at Good Sam were very suportive and helpful during both of my deliveries. The rooms or birthing suites rather, are very comfortable! And you stay put after delivery, no changing rooms.

Good luck on deciding!

I loved my birthing experience at St. Vincents one year ago. Of course, anything would have been better than my first delivery in Brooklyn, New York! I went with the midwives group and had a great experience with appts and general attention the whole way through. The nurses were great once in labor AND for the after care, and I thought my recovery room was huge...no crucifixes either (?).

I had a wonderful experience at Good Sam. We live on the edge of Beaverton/Hillsboro and the drive was well worth it. The birthing rooms were fabulous and I loved that we were able to stay in the same room (no recovery room switcheroo). Overall, the nurses were very accommodating and we were even allowed to stay in our room an extra day while we waited for our little one to have light therapy for jaundice. How many hospitals would do that? A lactation consultant stopped in every day to check in. The neighborhood is fabulous, my husband loved picking up something yummy to eat and I really appreciated the gelatto he brought back to my room. All of my sisters have delivered at St. V's and their experiences haven't been nearly as fabulous as mine.

Loved St. Vincents and Dr. Reindl!! Great birthing room, nurse and lactation consultant. Small post delivery room, but thought it was a good experience anyway. I wouldn't risk having a little one - VBAC or c-section without NICU. Best of luck in your decision. I always think the care is the most important part . . .size of the room when you are only staying a few days . . .isn't that big of a deal. LC by the way was DORIS. She has her own business too and can come to the house!!! She was my lifesaver.

Good Sam all the way. I was born there and was supposed to have delivered my first there but she was premature so had to go to St V for the NICU. Sometimes I still get a little choked up over the horrible experience I had there. As soon as my daughter came out, they whisked her and my husband away. No one ever told me what was going on with her or where exactly she was. No one ever explained the NICU policies, procedures, etc with me and I had no idea what questions to ask. I could go on and on...

I heard somewhere that they have around 600 births per month (sounds a little ridiculous so I don't know...) at St V which definitely explained the "being treated like a number" feeling I had. Thank god I did not have a c-section so I could get the heck out of there faster. As for the maternity ward remodeling they did - all I ever saw as of late '07 was some fresh paint and new hardwood floors in the main hallways.

Go to Good Sam where you have a very nice and spacious LDR room. I think they only have something like 20 rooms? Can't speak for the care staff since I don't have first-hand experience.

Check with your doctor regarding her policy on VBACs at either or both hospitals. I have a good friend who delivered a baby via VBAC at Good Sam 2 years ago--they may have changed their policy in the meantime, but she's proof that successful and planned VBACs have happened at Good Sam.

My doc (Robin Barrett) delivers at Good Sam and St. V, so we also had a choice. Good Sam is closer to our house so that was part of the consideration, but I was also looking for a "quieter" birthing experience than with my first, and preferred to have as few interventions as possible. From talking with others, I got the feeling I would be happier at Good Sam. We were really happy with our choice--the rooms are huge and I loved that I checked in and stayed in the same room the whole time, and the nurses and staff were great. We happened to be there on a very quiet weekend with few other mamas delivering so they actually brought tons of extra food to us every time they saw that my husband and son were visiting, which was thoughtful. I felt zero pressure for any interventions, and they left everything up to me and let me go at my own pace which was great.

Good luck with your decision, I think both are great options.

I delivered my first at St. V's in Nov 07. My experience was satisfactory - labor and delivery nurses were great, post-partum nurses were good, recovery room was poor. Birthing room was OK. St V's is 1-mile from my house, and I go to WHA, so it was a no-brainer for me to deliver there.

I delivered naturally, and was pleased that the L&D nurse let me do my thing with very little interuption or mandates. I think having a supportive birthing doula and husband during delivery helped promote this (welcome) hands-off approach from L&D nurse.

Our recovery room was a converted office, so it was small with a different set-up. I left St. V's as soon as I could (36 hours after delivering my daughter). I wanted to minimize my time in the hospital (and those late-night pokes and prods of my daughter and me).

I would go to St. V's again if I choose to have a hospital birth (as opposed to home or birthing center).

I HATE ST.VINCENTS. They almost killed me.I had my baby in march 2008 with a completely unecesary c-section. Thay thought my 37 week baby was going to be too big. My 1st baby was much bigger and a vaginal birth,and yes I told them that but they did not care.They put my epidural in wrong and had to push pain meds every hour.The line gave out as they were stapling my stomach during the c-sec and I felt everything.They cut my stomach and then after the operation said-OH WE CUT OFF CENTER. Isnt that something they should of checked before the cut me open? They changed my room 5 times. They sent me home bleeding so heavily that I was ambulanced back the next day and was lucky to survive.I have spoken with so many very unhappy moms that went with St.Vs.I had my 1st child at OHSU and was much happier with the outcome.I dont care for all of the students that come with a teaching hospital but would prefer that to the horrible 9 day ordeal at ST.Vs. Oh and they charged me $40,000 for all of this.Good luck,I hope this helps.

I have had friends have babies at St Vs, Good Sam, Prov Portland and Kaiser. I had my twins at Emanuel. I had great lactation support and nursing support at Emanuel and have heard the same about Good Sam. St. V seemed severely lacking in this area (this was 3 and 5 years ago though). Good Sam seems to have the biggest rooms. The most important thing is that you and baby get home healthy, and that happened at all the local hospitals!

Another consideration, if you're thinking of getting a tubal following your birth, think twice about Providence (Portland or St. V). They won't do it without a lot of red tape.

Dr. Murray was my OB for both pregnancies delivered at Good Sam. My first was a scheduled c-section (breech), second I was on the fence about a vbac. It was Dr. Murray's caring support and informative advice that ultimately helped me in my decision. She would have supported me either way but I went for the vbac and was very happy with my decision.

For both deliveries I felt confident that I was in good hands. The nursing staff at Good Sam is amazing.

I could go on about Dr. Murray and how incredibly supportive she was during some difficult times. I'd highly recommend her. If you have any questions please feel free to email me - amy@dailygnome.com

Yes! The nursing staff is AMAZING at Good Sam. The best there is. I can't recommend Good Sam enough. We loved the nursing staff so much that we made a donation to the foundation in their name when we got home.

I had to have a c-section with some troubles during surgery. My dr and the nurses made me feel well cared for and supported. My hubby stayed with me in the hospital for four nights and they were accommodating and gracious. Dr Linda Moore was my OBGYN - she delivers at Good Sam and St V. Very, very good dr.

Oh, yes, I also had a tubal so Good Sam was a good choice for that, too.

P.S. I had a doula helping my husband and I and Good Sam was very accommodating about her, too. They even let me have her in the surgery room when I was having the c-section so she could help me and my hubby could concentrate on the baby.

I may be biased as I am a health care provider but when I had my children I chose Portland Providence (smaller than St. V and care with exceptional) with my last child I was limited by health insurance to St. Vincents and I would not recommend it for L/D. Meridian Park Hospital is also fantastic as is Kaiser Sunnyside (at least this is what patients tell me!)

Loved Good Sam. Great nurses, big room with its own bath, better than usual food, no moving around. Also heard horror stories about mothers in labor arriving "too early" at other PDX hospitals and not being given a room. They were sent to walk around the hospital corridors until they'd dilated enough to qualify for a place to lie down. Good Sam nurses said emphatically that never happens there.

I have delivered at both St. V's and Good Sam. I loved St. V's!! The nurses were wonderful, the facility was top notch and my ObGyn was on call that night so she delivered my baby. I thought Good Sam was a bit grungy, just as far as the appearance of the facility. Yes, the room was bigger but that did not matter to me. The nurses were awful. Maybe it was because my 2nd baby was born during the day (vs. #1 born in middle of the night) which could mean a more senior/seasoned nursing staff?? The nurses seemed bothered by my questions and were not very attentive vs. St. V's staff which seemed genuinely interested in my well-being. Honestly, so much of the experience depends on the nursing staff and that is just luck of the draw, I suppose. But, my own experience was better at St. Vincent's.

I spent 5.5 weeks on Bedrest at St. V's and then went on to deliver ( thankfully) a health baby girl there last March 08. While being in the hospital for 5.5 weeks was hard, I was very happy with the care I received at St. V's. The nurses were terrific, the labor rooms were spacious and comfy.

Hello - I am the one who submitted the original question for this post last month. First, thank you for all the responses. They were very helpful. Second, at about this same time I did find out that we were expecting our second, so it was a timely post indeed. Based on what seemed like mostly good feedback for Good Sam and of course Dr. Murray - I opted to stick with Dr. Murray given that I'm established with her and heard only good things about pregnancy experiences with her practice. However I thought I would write back and share something that has already made me question that decision. I am 37 yrs old (read: advanced maternal age) and when I called to make my first appt, I was given an appt. for 12 wks along. This struck me as kind of late in the game for a first appt. but I did not question it. Today, I received a call from someone in the office who offered to up my appt. to 10 weeks due to a cancellation. Unfortunately I can't make that day but I did happen to ask why they were offering to get me in sooner. At that point she mentioned that basically 12 wks was kind of late and 10 wks would give me more of a window for genetic testing options. Once off the call I dove into my own research (thank goodness for quick responses from a parenting message board I frequent) and learned all about the CVS test (I did not recall this option from #1 but was also under 35 then and we didn't do testing) and that by not seeing the doc until 12 wks I would only have a week's window left - until 13 wks - to make the decision and have the test complete before it was too late to perform, leaving a later amnio as the only other option. While I appreciate being offered a cancellation, I am definitely a little bothered that I had to discover this information on my own and was not provided with this information by the practice or offered an earlier appt. up front. I have subsequently spoken with the nurse and she said that normally patients come in at 7 to 10 wks, but that Dr. Murray's schedule is packed so this is what was available. To that I ask, at the risk of me missing a window of opportunity to learn about and opt for an important genetic test when I'm 37? Then maybe Dr. Murray has more patients than she can safely handle? As I kindly told the nurse, I've heard so many good things about this practice and have had nice experiences for the two annuals I've had with her, but this definitely does not make me feel like I'm getting off on the right foot with them for my pregnancy. Am I the only one who has had this type of experience? The nurse acknowledged my frustration and said someone probably should have mentioned the testing options available early on since I wouldn't be in the office until 12 wks, and is now working on getting me in for a genetic counseling appt. ahead of my 12 wk with Dr. Murray. After that, I will have to rethink about what I should do in terms of whether or not to stay with Dr. Murray or go with someone at WHA and St. V's. FWIW, thought I had a very healthy delivery with #1, I am also somewhat concerned about the NICU issue at Good Sam that was brought to my attention through this post.
Also, now that I am faced with this new information - I am wondering if others can offer insights on the CVS testing. I'll be going to genetic counseling at Maternal Fetal Medicine at Legacy Emmanuel. Are there specialists there who perform this? Has anyone had positive/negative experiences with having this test done, especially if it was there? Any thoughts, advice or experiences would be appreciated! Thanks again for the responses and for letting me share my experience.

Don't be discouraged. Dr. Murray is an amazing doctor and her staff are wonderful. I hope that you've had a chance to meet with her since your experience. Emmanuel is where everyone from her office goes for genetic testing, it's a nice place and the people are very capable. Ultimately it's your decision. I would highly recommend staying with Dr. Murray, I don't think you'll be dissapointed. Be honest with her about your experience, it's good for her to know all of your concerns and I've always found her to be very responsive. Good luck!

I just wanted to say that I used to go to WHA when I lived on the West Side and saw Kate Pelosi there for years for OBGYN stuff. She is a midwife, not an MD and she is great. Good luck if you decide to switch practices.

I've delivered at both places: two at ST. Vs and one at Good Sam. My delivery nursing staff at Good Sam was phenomenal, but the next shift overlooked some important issues (like taking the clamp of his belly button). During labor, I was encouraged to do anything I needed to do, balance ball, shower, tub, yoga, walk, etc. They were very welcoming to my two other daughters, mother, and mother-in-law who were present throughout the entire labor/delivery. The rooms were very nice, and you can't beat the food my husband was able to bring in from the neighborhood.

St. Vs was very sterile and professional. I did sit in the tub and walk, but I felt compelled to labor in the bed, which was unnatural and, frankly, made delivery more difficult. The nursing staff was consistent overall and friendly. The only thing that irked the hell out of me is the constant, annoying visits from salespeople wanting to take pictures, bring formula, etc.

Overall, my experience at Good Sam was more relaxing and enjoyable than at St. Vs, but St. Vs may be a better choice if the pregnancy/delivery is high risk.

...and on the CVS testing...my husband is a geneticist who handles many of these tests on a daily basis. As your genetic counselor will tell you, from the simple blood draw, they look for markers that indicate nonviability or severe issues. The CVS test is a first screen; if there is a suspician of issues that merit a more accurate testing, they will probably recommend an amnio, which they then examine using different techniques (FISH- Florescent In-Situ Hybridization). This test is very accurate.

The above post is confusing because at St. V's the only way the photo people come into your room is if you sign a form stating you want that. Also, there are no formula salespeople.

A reply to Due in December:
When patients call to make an appointment, we as schedulers try to schedule you the soonest appointment available with the physician you're requesting. We in no way, shape or form would ever want to delay you the opportunity to get your 1st trimester screening done.

If you were scheduled to come in not until you were 12 weeks gestation, you are still able to have the nurse send an order to have your CVS done before you see the doctor. The results would then be forwarded to our office and the nurse would contact you with results. You can also go more into detail about the results with the doctor when you came in for your appointment.

I'm sorry if you had a bad experience but Dr. Murray and her colleagues are great physicians.

At 39 -also advanced maternal age -I had CVS prior to seeing my doctor (I was referred after asking and seeing her nurse) and the genetic counselors were great about getting the results back to me directly and as soon as possible. I didn't have to wait to see my doctor. I found it to be a relief to get the genetic testing done as soon as possible.

As far as St. Vincent's vs. Good Sam -St. Vincent advertises over 6000 births per year, while Good Sam is known to be a smaller, more individualized facility that is not near so busy. Legacy advertises their most advanced NICU units are at Emmanuel and Salmon Creek (Vancouver) -which explains the lady in recovery at Good Sam while her baby was transferred to Emmanuel NICU and perhaps some of the concerns over higher risk deliveries. I'm going with Good Sam myself.

I was induced at St. V. I spent 2 days in L&D and 3 in recovery, so I feel like I got a good feel for the hospital. St. V. felt pretty sterile as a facility. The delivery rooms were large, but there wasn't much room to sit, and the window seat my husband slept on 2 nights in a row was very uncomfortable. I was on the monitor the whole time, so I could only walk a few feet up and down the hall, even with the mobile monitor. For the most part, the L&D nurses were sweet and friendly, but very hands off. One was very rude, and spent 12 hours fiddling with my IV, rolling her eyes at me, and insisting I wasn't in labor when as it turned out, I was. Having someone tell me, "It's just minor uterine irritation," when I was actually in labor sort of soured me on the experience, but overall, the nurses were very nice, sympathetic and helpful. She was the only one I had like that. It was just unfortunate timing that she was the one I had when things finally got rolling.

I ended up with a c-section, and the doctor who performed it did an excellent job. I was up and walking by that night and changing my baby's diapers first thing the next morning. The recovery rooms are a closet, though, and of course, that's when you have tons of people in and out visiting the baby. The pull-out chair bed thing in recovery was even worse than what we had in L&D. My poor husband. I don't think he was ever happier to sleep in his own bed than after 5 days at the hospital. That being said, the recovery nurses were all WONDERFUL. I had the same one during the day every day I was there, and I just loved her to pieces. I also really liked the food. In fact, I still joke with my husband that I want to go to the hospital for dinner. Recovery was cramped, but I really enjoyed our 3 days there.

Maybe L&D just seemed so bad because I went 2 days without really eating? ;) On the whole, it wasn't bad. I think I will choose a different facility for #2, though.

Abby from the early post here mentioned you have Laura Morrison, what did you think of her? I am new to the area and going to through my first pregnancy, and I kind of randomly picked Dr. Morrison, so not sure what to expect.

There seems to have so many doctors and midwifes from WHA and I can't imagine every one is there at St. Vincent giving birth at the same time, does that mean there is a big chance that my Dr. may not be on call and be there for me since they have so many Dr. to rotate around?

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