The recent closure of the Labor and Delivery Services at North Central Bronx's Medical Center's by the Health and Hospitals Corporation deeply concerns me.
I recently gave birth to my daughter Carmen and know first hand how important Labor and Delivery Services are needed for expecting mothers, their families, and their unborn children.
All women need access to safe and confident labor and delivery medical personnel regardless of income and that is what North Central Bronx's Labor and Delivery services provided before it was abruptly closed a mere three days after the announcement was made.
The abrupt announcement and closure left hospital staff and women who expected to deliver at North Central Bronx Hospital scrambling to make time sensitive decisions at an emotionally medically crucial time.
The Health and Hospitals Corporation simply states that women can seek pregnancy related attention at Jacobi Medical Center. One of the many concerns with this is statement is the geographic location difference between North Central and Jacobi.
It will take a woman, who may suspect she is experiencing the onset of labor, 45 minutes to get from North Central Bronx Hospital to Jacobi on public transit and 15 minutes in a cab while unrealistically assuming there is no traffic.
In times of labor every minute is a life or death situation. Placing this type of life threatening situations on unborn children and their mothers is beyond distressing and the fact that the Health and Hospitals Corporation is turning a blind eye to this is deeply concerning.
Not to mention the undue burden this places on the entire Jacobi Medical Center staff. With more and more women going to Jacobi Medical Center for very similar and yet very different pre-partum concerns, women may experience less time and less personal attention from medical staff.
Instead of closing medical centers across the city and disproportionally in low-income communities the city needs to help sustain current funding and resources avenues while actively pursuing new ones and ensure the areas that need these services the most are getting them the most.
Obviously this is not currently taking place.
In addition, all health care professionals and personnel across the city and specifically in The Bronx should receive culturally sensitive and linguistic training to make sure that the needs of all of the beautiful and growing immigrant populations across the city are receiving cultural relevant attention in whichever language they feel most comfortable with.
At such a beautiful, confusing, and slightly fearful time in an expecting family’s life the city should not be causing more stress than necessary for these families.
Please join me in signing the Choices in Childbirth’s petition asking Mayor Bloomberg, Health and Hospitals Corporation, and Nirav R Shah, MD, MPH, New York State Department of Health Commissioner to re-open the much needed Labor and Delivery Services at North Central Bronx Hospital.