In a story from NBC News, a rural mother from Connecticut had a birth story that was out of the ordinary. Shantell Jones gave birth to her baby boy in an ambulance parked on the side of a busy road, as the local health care facility, Windham Hospital, shuttered their labor and delivery unit in June of 2020, citing low birth rates.
Windham is now preparing to close its childbirth services permanently, and the community is fighting to keep it.
From the story: “A group called Windham United to Save Our Healthcare, the local chapter of the NAACP and the American Teachers Federation, which represents Windham Hospital health care workers, have circulated petitions, organized weekly virtual meetings and participated in rallies to oppose the move.
“It’s about the fabric of this community, and I really love this community,” Brenda Buchbinder, who spearheaded Windham United, said. “It’s where my husband and I settled. It’s where our children were born. It’s where we passed the local hospital and got to tell them, ‘That’s where you were born.’”
The Windham Town Council also passed a resolution last year asking the hospital to “restore all core services, especially maternity services of Labor and Delivery.”
Labor and delivery departments “have a lot of human value” but often make little money, said Katy Kozhimannil, a public health researcher and University of Minnesota professor, who authored the study published in JAMA.
Windham’s contentious decision shows the risk to low-income women who may not have the means or resources to travel 30 minutes at a moment’s notice, she said.”
Windham Hospital is not the only rural facility to close their maternity services. “Maternity Deserts” are fast becoming a national issue, as rural expectant mothers are forced to travel hundreds of miles for maternal care and safe delivery of their babies.
To read the rest of the story on NBC News, click here.