As the only OB-GYN practicing at Ellwood City Hospital, I am angry about the way administrators decided to close the OB department (“Hundreds join petition drive to keep open maternity ward at Ellwood City Hospital,” July 7 and TribLIVE.com). They say the decision was made over a long time and after serious consideration, but their lack of action speaks louder than their words.
For example, they have not made any capital improvements to the OB unit since the 1980s, and we frequently lose patients because of this. Also, the hospital doesn't promote it; every day there's an ad from a competitor's OB unit in the local paper, but never one from ours.
They haven't tried to bring in new obstetricians and haven't negotiated for better payment from insurance companies. Most importantly, they never talked to those of us working on the unit. We have numerous ideas to improve the bottom line, but no one ever asked for our input.
The nurses, the community and I are asking the administration for a chance to make it viable. Give us two years. Work with us, not against us.
If we fail, then close the unit. But to close it without even trying is not fair to us, our patients or all those dedicated people who kept it open for the last 100 years.
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