E. Alabama hospital to close birthing unit due to 'decline in births'

E. Alabama hospital to close birthing unit due to 'decline in births'

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) – Due to a number of births in the area, the East Alabama Medical Center officials announced on Monday that the obstetrical unit at EAMC-Lanier in Valley will close on Dec. 31, 2015.

The unit, which delivers fewer than 25 babies a month, has seen a decline in births for a period of time.

"This is not a decision that we made lightly; it has been months in the making.  Childbirth is one of the greatest times in life—it's the giving of new life—and we know it is a very joyous time for families, but can be stressful as well.  We are notifying families of this decision now, so that they can adequately allow for their childbirth experience," said Greg Nichols, EAMC-Lanier Administrator.

Plans are currently being developed and implemented, including notification of this change to Valley-area women who are currently pregnant, with extra details being given to those who expect to deliver around that time of the year.

In addition, the Emergency Department physicians, nurses and staff members at EAMC-Lanier will receive added training for providing emergency obstetrical care should a patient arrive in active labor.

"Our obstetricians are already making their patients aware of the change, so we expect a smooth transition when the calendar year ends, but will be prepared if someone present to the ER in an emergent OB situation," said Nichols.

EAMC, which delivers more than 1,700 babies a year, many from the Chambers County area, is only about 20 miles from EAMC-Lanier.

There is also a hospital in LaGrange, also about 20 miles from Valley, that provides 24/7 obstetrical care.

EMAC administrators want to be clear: hospital employees within the OB unit will NOT be laid off, they will transferred to other units or work at EAMC in Opelika.

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