Rural North Carolina hospital to close delivery unit in October

Williamston, N.C.-based Martin General Hospital will close its obstetrics unit Oct. 21, forcing women in the community to travel more than 30 miles to give birth, according to local news station WITN.

The decision to close the unit is because the number of births at the hospital has declined in recent years. To keep the unit profitable, Martin General needed 300 deliveries per year, but the hospital averaged only 160, hospital officials said.

Labor and delivery nurses jobs may be at risk due to the closure, according to the report.

"Our staff has been so hurt by this shocking decision. Most will have to go to other hospitals for employment," one nurse told WITN.

The hospital is working to find new physicians for its labor and delivery patients.

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