Northwestern Medicine to end maternity services at Illinois hospital

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The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine's application to close the obstetrics and gynecology department at its McHenry, Ill., hospital, Lake & McHenry County Scanner reported Dec. 14.

The approval passed on a 7-1 vote. The unit will close in January, and expectant mothers will have to travel to Northwestern Medicine Hospital in Huntley, Ill., for these services.

Illinois state Sen. Craig Wilcox was against closing the unit, the County Scanner reported.

"Today's decision is not in the best interest of the communities I serve in this region," Mr. Wilcox said. "By adding a minimum half-hour to the drive to the hospital for delivery, high-risk patients will be placed at greater risk for devastating outcomes."

Several fire departments in the county also wrote letters to the board in opposition to the closure. They said closing the department would cause delays in high-level care for expectant mothers in the area, according to the report.

Northwestern Medicine said in a September statement that consolidating services at the Huntley hospital will provide better care, according to the report.

"We are aligning inpatient women's and children's services at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital to provide an elevated program in one location," said Thomas McAfee, senior vice president at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

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