The state health department must approve the proposal, but officials are seeking public input before making a decision.
More than 100 people gathered at a community center in Pawtucket to express their views on the proposed closure. Most urged health department officials to deny Memorial’s request because of their belief that the hospital provides women a birth experience like no other. Stacey Nichols had both of her children at Memorial Hospital.
“And when I looked at the options at Women and Infants, and what they were offering me, it was not what I wanted the birth experience to be. People were very cold, they were not understanding why I was upset with the situation. And Memorial ended up being a great choice.”
Care New England nursing chief Angelleen Peters-Lewis a similar experience can be found at Women and Infants, although staff could always improve: "And we want to invite the community and advocates for memorial hospital to really partner with us to try to figure out a way we can enhance the patient experience.”
8800 babies were born at Women and Infants Hospital last year, more than in any other hospital in the state.
The state health agency has 90 days to respond to Memorial's proposal. If approved, Memorial would transfer obstetrics services to Women and Infants and Kent Hospitals.