Hahnemann shifting more than 800 expectant mothers elsewhere to stem 'maternity health care crisis'

Hadas Kuznits
July 10, 2019 - 2:06 pm
Hahnemann University Hospital

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio, file

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — With Hahnemann University Hospital set to close its obstetrics department, health care providers there are looking to transfer care for 819 pregnant patients by the end of this week. 

In a letter sent to patients this week from the Drexel University College of Medicine, which is associated with Hahnemann University Hospital, expectant mothers were informed that all non-emergency surgeries and proceedures would be halted by Friday. The letter went on to inform patients that hospital staff would help those who are due to give birth in July and August to tranfer their care to other hospitals.

While staff members were unable to speak on the record, Lori Daley, who has worked independently as a doula at various hospitals for the past decade, says closing this maternity ward is a huge detriment to the city's ability to provide high-quality pre- and post-natal care.

"There was just a certain compassion that existed," she said. "Not that you can't find that at other hospitals, but in my experience, it was just a little different there, and I think most of my clients really felt respected there."

She says Hahnemann's Cesarean section rates were consistently lower than other area hospitals. This is partly because they took in and helped patients who wanted to have a vaginal birth after C-sections, also known as VBAC.

"They're one of the only hospitals that has still welcomed moms who are wanting to have a vaginal birth after two C-sections," she said. "When a C-section rate rises, you see worse maternal health outcomes."

This closing now means that there are only five delivering academic hospitals in Philadelphia, leaving women with fewer options for how they want to give birth to their babies.