Hospital debuts birth announcement billboard

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Forget a stork sign in your front yard. Some local parents are now making their baby’s birth announcement in a bigger way.

Elizabeth Mikula is a proud first time mom. Her daughter Laughton was just born on March 4.

“We’re having a lot of fun. She’s teaching us a lot,” says Mikula with a smile.

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Laughton is one of the first babies to appear on the Special Delivery billboard

Already, Laughton is a familiar face to Interstate-195 drivers. She is one of the first babies to appear on the new Henrico Doctors’ Hospital Special Delivery billboard near the Laburnum exit.

“A lot of people who we know very well saw it, and then some people who we don’t know quite as well,” Mikula describes the reaction to her daughter’s debut.

Before posting the newborns, the hospital gets permission to use their photos, which is required by HIPAA, the patient privacy law. Just last summer, a report cracked down on even picture displays in doctors’ offices unless parents give their written consent. In the case of a billboard with that much more exposure, the hospital says it takes other steps for safety too. Announcements go up after both mom and baby are discharged. Only the first or first and middle names are used.

Elizabeth Mikula says her family is glad they can share Laughton's arrival in a big way
Elizabeth Mikula says her family is glad they can share Laughton’s arrival in a big way

Parents like Mikula say an opportunity like this is priceless. She is glad her family can share their new arrival with Richmond.

“It was exciting, very exciting.”

HCA Virginia says this is the only billboard like it in the area, and the hospital system does not have any plans to add more at this point. It is a growing trend around the country, however, with these types of birth announcements becoming more and more common.

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