TOWANDA — On the day the world’s focus was on a maternity ward in England, we learned a hospital in Bradford County will stop delivering babies this fall.
Memorial Hospital in Towanda has decided to close its maternity center in September because of fewer deliveries.
It was not the news some people want to hear, especially mothers expecting to have babies there in the near future. Hospital officials say a decline in births and things like the Affordable Health Care Act have set them back financially, so now they’re forced to make some changes.
“Knowing that’s going to be there when I’m having this baby is comforting but if I were to have any more, you know, it wouldn’t be that good that it wasn’t up there anymore.”
Kelly Eddy of Towanda is a familiar face at Memorial Hospital. She has three kids, all of which were born here. With a baby on the way in August, she says her heart goes out for other expecting moms who will have to find a new hospital.
“When you feel labor coming on and you have to get to the hospital, you want to get there right away instead of having to drive that fa.r”
The president of the hospital says it wasn’t an easy decision having to announce that they would no longer be delivering babies. But he said it’s a decision they had to make.
“Very bad, very bad, we’re very sad that this has come.”
Gary Baker, the president of Memorial Hospital says due to a decline in births, the board of trustees decided to end deliveries at the hospital. Moms like Stephanie Bowman say they aren’t happy.
“It’s just ridiculous because so many people around here have kids. Where are they really going to go?”
The next closest hospital that still deliveries babies is 17 miles away in Sayre. Mothers say that’s too far and will have a big impact on the community.
“I think it will have a big effect on the community because it is used a lot and they do have a lot of mothers go there,” said Beth Allen of Towanda.
Hospital officials say nine employees will be affected by this decision. They say they will work with them to find other job opportunities. Looking at the bigger picture, officials say they understand why parents may be upset, but they’re hopeful this won’t be a setback for the surrounding area.
“I hope not. There are other options nearby and we’ll also be able, the community will still be able, to get prenatal and post-partum care,” said Baker.
September 30 will be the last day that babies are delivered at the hospital. Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre and hospitals in Binghamton or Scranton are the next closest.