Victoria Barany Nuñez, DDS, was on her way to California to start a new job in early 2020 when she decided to make a stop in Cleveland.
Dr. Barany’s best friend lived there and was working at MetroHealth as a dentist. The friend convinced Dr. Barany that she should meet with Gregory Heintschel, DDS, Chair of Oral Health and Dentistry at MetroHealth.
She did—and received a job offer on the spot. Dr. Barany joined MetroHealth in March 2020.
One day the following summer, Dr. Barany was chatting with Nancy Rehker-Heard, one of her patients and the administrative coordinator for MetroHealth’s Department of OB/GYN.
“Nancy said, ‘The next time you’re pregnant, let me know and I’ll introduce you to a doctor who’s super great,’” she says.
It turned out that Dr. Barany and her husband, David Chiossone, were expecting their third child (she’d had her second son in late 2020). She had already arranged to see another obstetrician but instead decided to make an appointment with Gregory Kitagawa, MD, and was glad she did — she liked him immediately.
“He’s so nice, so personable,” Dr. Barany says of Dr. Kitagawa. “Going to the OB isn’t always the most fun experience. But he was funny, always cracking jokes, and he was very knowledgeable. He approaches you as a friend.”
A member of the MetroHealth staff since the first day of his residency 20 years ago, Dr. Kitagawa is one of the top choices among employees who get their OB care at MetroHealth.
“I have four kids of my own. It’s very rare that a patient has more kids than I do,” he says. “From experience alone, I can help guide them through the process.”
For the most part, Dr. Barany’s pregnancy was uneventful. In November 2021, she had COVID-19. After she recovered, Dr. Kitagawa ordered couple extra ultrasounds to make sure that the virus hadn’t affected the baby’s growth.
An ultrasound that Dr. Barany had at 32 weeks spotted something on the baby’s heart. She followed up with a pediatric cardiologist, who scheduled a test that would be done prior to Dr. Barany and her baby leaving the hospital.
Dr. Barany’s original due date was March 17, but at a routine check-up on March 7, Dr. Kitagawa told her the baby would likely come sooner than that.
“He said I could go at any second, he didn’t want me to have the baby on the freeway if I waited too long,” she says.
So, Dr. Barany went home and started gathering her things for the hospital, intending to go to the hospital the next morning. But when her contractions became more pronounced around 4 a.m. on March 8, she and her husband left for the hospital.
Dr. Barany was already familiar with MetroHealth’s Birthing and Perinatal Center. She had a great experience there with the birth of her second son in the fall of 2020. Her first-hand knowledge received added validation when a neighbor, a Cleveland Clinic physician, told her that MetroHealth’s center is renowned throughout the state.
“Everyone was so nice, especially the nurses,” she says. “They are the ones who take care of you during the whole thing, the doctor comes at the end.”
Of Morgan Gold and Lauren Greenwood, her Labor and Delivery nurses, Dr. Barany says: “They were both so skilled, sweet and calming. I felt really taken care of, and they gave me great tips while making sure that I was comfortable, and everything was running smoothly.”
Dr. Kitagawa readily agrees: “The nursing staff is phenomenal. They do 99% of the work. It’s because they’re so good that I can do my job,” he says. “Everyone who works here is in it for the same goal. We have a vested interest in good outcomes for everybody.”
Baby Pablo was born just after 6 p.m. on March 8, weighing 8.8 lbs. and 20 inches long. Even during the delivery, Dr. Barany says Dr. Kitagawa managed to make her laugh and relax.
“He truly cares about his patients, not just as a medical record number but as real people,” she says.
Dr. Barany also raved about Maggie Tuitel and Cathy Jenkins, her postpartum nurses.
“Cathy is a real gem! I felt like I was being taken care of by my mom or aunt. She is that great,” Dr. Barany says.
Dr. Barany, who resumed seeing her own patients in early May, also had praise for the anesthesiologist and the woman at the front desk who took her to her room once she was admitted.
“Overall, my experience was great, and it made all the difference for my family,” she says.