Hialeah Hospital to close maternity ward

Hialeah Hospital in south Florida is set to close its maternity ward on April 5 in a move that has caused outcry from doctors, patients and other members of the Hialeah community.

The hospital’s maternity ward will be merged with North Shore Medical Center and Palmetto General Hospital, who are also owned by Tenet Healthcare.

 

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“The transition will provide patients with access to a broader range of specialized services.” Tenet Healthcare said in a statement.

Doctors who work in the maternity ward at Hialeah Hospital demonstrated on Friday, protesting the decision.

“I was recruited down here to work for a company that targets mostly undocumented and uninsured patients,” said a doctor at the demonstration. “We’ve been working very successfully here, we’re very busy and we’ve had a lot of patients we’ve been caring for here. This news comes as quite the abrupt shock.”

Doctors fear that the closing will greatly impact economically disadvantage and some undocumented patients.

Lack of easy access to maternity care can cause many issues for both the mother and child. The longer a mother has to travel to give birth the more likely they are to give birth at home, or without a medical professional present. These issues particularly affect rural and economically disadvantaged communities.

More than 20 percent of Hialeah residents are living in poverty. More than 95 percent of the city’s residents are Hispanic. In 2017, Hispanic-Americans were 1.1 times as likely as non-Hispanic white Americans to suffer infant mortality.

An online petition to prevent the closing of the maternity ward has received around 1,500 signatures in four days.