Illinois hospitals brace for influx of deliveries amid birthing unit closures

SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale will be one of just two hospitals offering labor and delivery services to women in southern Illinois as of May 31, reports CBS affiliate KFVS 2.

Marion, Ill.-based Heartland Regional Medical Center will shutter its labor and delivery unit at the end of the month. After the closure, women will only be able to give birth at Memorial Hospital and SSM Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon.

Memorial Hospital delivers about 1,900 babies annually. Hospital officials said they expect to perform up to 40 additional deliveries per month once Heartland Regional terminates labor and delivery services.

"It really is a tragedy that we have lost another obstetrical unit within our community," Erica Hess, nurse manager of women and children services at SIH Memorial Hospital, told KFVS 2.

Memorial Hospital has been preparing for an influx of deliveries for several years and recently renovated its labor and delivery unit, according to Al Taylor, the hospital's vice president and administrator. The hospital also hired at least six nurses from Heartland Regional to work in the unit, which features 130 full-time employees, reports The Southern Illinoisan.

More articles on patient flow:
6 hospitals ending maternity services
Illinois hospital to end inpatient labor, delivery services May 31
Vermont hospital closes 105-year-old birthing unit

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