North Carolina hospital to end gynecology, obstetrics services

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Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Murphy, N.C., will discontinue gynecology and obstetrics services next month, according to North Carolina Health News.

The hospital will end labor and delivery services at the beginning of December. Other obstetrics services and gynecology services are slated to end Dec. 31. 

Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Erlanger Health System, the hospital's owner, blamed the discontinuation on a nationwide decline in demand for maternal services at rural and community hospitals.

The closure of the delivery unit means that some expectant women would need to drive more than an hour away to find a hospital that offers the services, according to the report. 

Erlanger said it will still provide emergency care to pregnant women and will prepare them to transfer to another facility, by helicopter if necessary. It is unclear if it will assume the cost of those flights.

Read the full report here.

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