Keep Maternity Care Local at Harrington Memorial Hospital
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Who We Are:
Harrington Memorial Hospital opened 1931 in Southbridge, Massachussetts. The hospital "was established ... to serve Southbridge and nearby communities, pledging to provide high-quality, personalized medical services to patients in an effective and efficient manner" (HMH website, 2017). During the decades, the hospital has stood as a pillar of community and humanitarianism. Generations have been born, sought care, and found a dignified end in the walls of this great hospital.
The Real Story Behind the Numbers:
The first birth at HMH was in the 1930's. Thousands of babies have taken their first breath under the watchful eye of HMH Nurses and Physicians. The annual birth rate of the hospital has remained akin to the national birth rate until recently. In 2001, the HMH birth rate dropped accordingly with the national birth rate. Over the past 20 years, the number of births has only dropped by 288 deliveries/year. This lowered patient census means less possible income for all Obstetrical Units. Less delivering women, combined with the ever rising cost of healthcare creates a challenge for hospitals.
HMH Labor & Delivery unit does more than just deliver babies. We hold regular breast feeding support groups. Our nurses go out into the community to help moms coordinate with WIC and Healthy Families. We host Community Baby Showers, and babysitter education. We see patients for things like Non-stress tests and Labor Checks. In 2016 we had 825 patients seen by the Obstetrical staff as triage alone; that number does not reflect deliveries.
The Labor & Delivery unit at HMH is unique on many levels. We are the only combined Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Postpartum unit within reasonable distance. Due to our smaller unit, patients receive exemplary care, and usually have a private nurse. Our care is centered around mom and baby, encouraging skin-to-skin, rooming in and unlimited visitation. No other hospital around allows unrestricted access to your newborn!
Obstetrical Medicine carries a cost both, emotionally and financially, but is critical to the welfare of a community and her residents. In recent year HMH has gone thru numerous growing stages and changes. Recent fiscal numbers have been deemed unsatisfactory, and due to the high overhead, the Board of Directors has CHOSEN TO CLOSE THE LABOR & DELIVERY UNIT AT HARRINGTON.
Without a local Labor and Delivery unit, laboring women will now have to commute to Bay State or UMMMC, both over 20 miles away. Many of Southbridge residents do not have transportation, and this closure will create a huge issue for them, forcing these patients to use the 911 for transport to other facilities.
There still will be patients who show up to HMH Emergency Room in labor. Nursing care and medicine have become so specialized, that is it unsafe to expect nurses and doctors to "step up" and "just wing it" for something like the delivery of a baby, without proper training and support. This is what the Board of Directors is choosing to ask of their ER staff. This is both dangerous to mom and baby, and unjust to ask of your Emergency Room.
What Is Needed:
"In the throes of the Depression, it was a difficult time to raise funds, but the community rallied around the idea of a hospital to serve all comers, both rich and poor, in South Central Massachusetts." (HMH website, 2017) Historically, HMH has endured because of the community. The need for a hospital in this location, filling a gap between BayState and UMMMC, has been proven time and again.
We ask that if you agree, and would like to see the Obstetrical Services continued at HMH, that you please sign this petition. Also, your presence at any meetings as a show of support would be appreciated.
Southbridge residents saved Harrington Memorial Hospital once, please help us do it again!
Today: HMH OB Nurses is counting on you
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