Residents speak out after Pontiac hospital’s decision to end infant delivery services

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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PONTIAC (25News Now) - OSF HealthCare Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac announced Monday it would no longer deliver babies beginning in September, but some residents voiced their concerns with 25News Tuesday.

The closing of the delivery unit follows marks the second hospital to close down its service.

Some residents were left curious as to where their child would be born, with several claiming it is difficult to find a place to give birth in central Illinois.

OSF Saint James Chief Nursing Officer Liz Davidson said staffing is only part of the issue.

“Over the past year, we’ve had less than 120 deliveries here at Saint James, and that’s compared to over 500 births that we used to do previously,” said Davidson. “The age of the population is getting older, so there are fewer younger families and babies being born.”

Davidson said OSF St Joseph’s in Bloomington will handle the deliveries of their expecting mothers. However, the decision seemed to raise eyebrows for expecting moms and others.

“Whether it’s one person or five people, if there are complications, what are the chances of you now getting to Bloomington within 30 to 45 minutes?” said a Pontiac resident who wished to remain anonymous. “So you’re risking not only your life, but you’re risking the life of your baby due to the one hospital in the small town.”

“We really wanna make sure that we have the services located in the areas, where people can get the best care,” said the Chief Nursing Officer. “But as the births go down and you have fewer births, it’s hard to maintain those competencies.”

Davidson says all other services for expectant mothers will continue.