Reactions continue to the potential shuttering of Memorial Hospital’s birthing center. Nurse midwives who work with the center say they’re concerned about narrowing options for pregnant women.
Dr. Sylvia Ross at Rhode Island College is a certified Nurse Midwife. She praises Memorial’s relationship with midwives who deliver babies in the family home.
“I think it’s a loss for the community. I think it’s a loss for the home birth midwives," says Ross.
Rhode Island’s largest free-standing home birth nurse midwife practice is currently in talks with Memorial’s parent, Care New England, about establishing relationships with other hospitals in the network, such as Women and Infants. Rhode Island Home Birth's Michelle Palmer says she’s concerned that mothers will be directed to Women and Infants Hospital, where her practice has not yet established a relationship.
“Does this really meet, can this one facility really meet all the different needs, not just the clinical needs of women, but all of the different needs of women who are seeking care?”
Palmer’s practice is working to develop a relationship with other hospitals, including Women and Infants Hospital in Providence. Memorial Hospital officials say their birthing center will close as part of a cost-cutting effort. The hospital says patients will be accepted at other Care New England facilities.