Petition started to save hospital obstetrics unit

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An online petition has been started to save the obstetrics unit at Ellwood City Hospital.

Hospital officials announced Friday the unit would be closing, citing decreasing births. The hospital averaged 24 births a month in 2007 but so far this year has had only 14 per month. The hospital only has one obstetrician on staff.

Officials said the hospital will save approximately $200,000 a year by closing the unit.

A petition asking hospital officials to reconsider the closure has been posted on ipetitions.com and 302 people already have signed it. The goal is 1,500 signatures, according to the website.

“In this day of continuing closure of local maternity wards, the options for women are dwindling. This is not good for the birth culture, for women’s choice or for the community. Having access to a local hospital to birth a baby is becoming more and more rare. Women are being forced to drive long distances for quality care. They are being herded into larger city hospitals. Their needs are being compromised by the lack of options,” the petition states.

“Ellwood City Hospital has been the birth place for generations of families. Mothers have birthed their children, who have subsequently birthed their children there. Families have been born there. Women are treated respectfully and as people, not just numbers. Women are cared for as a whole. Now newly expectant parents and the community are left to wonder where they will get quality maternity care in a personal setting,” the petition states.

Closing the obstetrics unit will affect 11 full-time and three part-time nurses who can apply to work in other departments.

To sign the petition, click here.

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