- Expectant mothers will be referred to Terre Haute hospitals
No more babies will be delivered at St. Vincent Clay Hospital as of January.
"Numbers have been down significantly. We've only done about 60 deliveries last year and this year and we really should be doing between 120 to 150 deliveries to be a competent obstetrics department," Rich Johansen, chief executive officer, said.
He commended the staff at the hospital and said the closing of the department was in no way a reflection on staff competency.
"We've done a great job with normal deliveries, but a more active OB department could do a better job with complicated deliveries. It's really a matter of safety for mother and baby," Johansen said.
He also noted doctors delivering babies are family practice physicians and do not specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. Doctors Keith Harvey and David Breitweiser will begin delivering babies at a Terre Haute hospital. Dr. Craig Johnson will finish with his current patients but will no longer accept new pregnancy cases. However, the hospital will continue to take care of emergency deliveries.
Other reasons cited for the declining number of deliveries performed at St. Vincent Clay Hospital include the size of the unit is small compared to other obstetrics departments in surrounding counties and since the hospital is now a Catholic facility, ethical and religious practices do not allow for tubal litigations (the procedure used to cut and tie off a woman's fallopian tubes in order to prevent pregnancy).
"We've met these needs for decades. But times are changing and the majority of Clay County residents are deciding to use larger OB facilities. We respect those decisions, as this is not our area of primary expertise," Johansen said.