Worries following announcement Heartland will no longer deliver - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Worries following announcement Heartland will no longer deliver babies

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MARION (WSIL) -- Heartland Regional Medical Center plans to discontinue labor and delivery services at the end of the month. Those plans have patients and doctors concerned about losing such a valuable service for the community. 

Dr. Luis Lopez is a pediatrician who often sees patients at Heartland Regional Medical Center. He was just as surprised as patients to learn Friday that Heartland will no longer be an option as a hospital to have a baby. 

"I don't think a community of this size should have that problem," said Dr. Lopez. 

Becca Minnick is in her third trimester with twins and is considered high risk. She lives in Metropolis and planned to deliver at Heartland, but now she'll have to come up with a plan B. 

"I've never been to Carbondale. I have no idea where the hospital is. I have to go and learn that area now," said Minnick. 

Minnick is on Medicaid so she has to deliver her twins at an Illinois hospital and Heartland Regional was the closest one. 

"Going into labor would be a huge risk for me and the twins both. However, if I do go into labor, they'll want to do a cesarean as quickly as possible," said Minnick. 

Minnick says she's nervous about changing her plans and wishes she would have been notified sooner. 

"More than a four week notice would definitely be appreciated by all the patients," said Minnick. 

Dr. Lopez agrees and says its a tragedy for Marion to lose such a critical aspect of community care. 

"Their services are needed, not for just the money making, but on behalf of the health care of the community. That is something that is going to be completely out of the picture," said Dr. Lopez. 

Heartland Regional Medical Center released a statement to News 3 Tuesday, saying: 

"This was not a decision we reached lightly, but we are confident it is the right one given that expectant families will still have two options for birthing centers in southern Illinois, one of which is located 15 minutes from Marion. Though inpatient obstetrical services and deliveries are being discontinued and patients transferred to other regional providers, our emergency department will continue to treat patients experiencing a medical emergency – obstetrics-related or otherwise."

SIH also released a statement saying:

"While we are saddened at news of Heartland Regional Medical Center's decision to discontinue obstetric and pediatric care, SIH is working closely with the region's obstetricians to ensure seamless labor and delivery services for those patients impacted by Heartland's announcement." 

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