Update: State Lawmakers demand answers from St. Margaret’s-Peru leadership
PEORIA (25 News Now) - Following the recent closure of St. Margaret’s-Peru hospital, State Lawmakers and three area local mayors are demanding answers about what’s going to happen moving forward.
Right before the hospital announced they were closing towards the end of January, via an email posted on social media, hundreds of women were planning on delivering at the Peru location.
Now since their doctors are not licensed to work at any other hospitals just yet, lawmakers are stepping in to demand answers.
When you come to Peru to the hospital, you’ll see signs completely blacked out, as the hospital closed its doors a little over a week ago and now lawmakers are trying to figure out what to do with not just the staff but the mothers who were planning to give birth here in the next nine months.
LaSalle resident Emily Schaub, says, “I cannot tell you how weirdly grateful that I’m 26 weeks pregnant and not 36 or 39.”
Her story is just one of the hundreds of pregnant women who were planning on delivering at St. Margaret’s-Peru hospital, the only one with an obstetrics unit in the immediate area.
State Senator Sue Rezin (R) Morris says, “we have women who are delivering in the next four to six weeks where there is no plan in place for where they should go. Who their doctor will be? What hospital should they go to? What happens if they have a complication? Those are the kinds of questions we need to be answered today.”
There’s also a concern if the other nearby hospitals can even handle the overflow of women, “do they have enough physicians?” Rezin questions.
More than just the OB unit is a concern for local leaders.
Bill Zens, the Executive Director of the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce says, “long term, [it’s the] the inability to attract new talent and new businesses to our region.”
For the former hospital staff, they too, are trying to determine what’s next.
Melissa Balma, who oversaw the OB unit, says “the nursing staff are not offered any sort of severance at this point.”
As they search for answers; a plea for the nurses who were on the front lines of the pandemic.
State Representative Lance Yednock (D) Ottawa says, “please don’t get dejected. We can’t afford to lose you in the healthcare space.”
The Mayor of Peru, Ken Kolowski chimes in, “where would we be two years ago when covid was at its peak? We have Heroes standing here.”
Both State Senator Rezin and State Representative Yednock are meeting with the leadership of St. Margaret’s to find those answers.
25News will keep you updated as this story develops.
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