Monroe County Labor and Delivery Department closes doors for good

Monroe County Hospital without labor and delivery department
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 11:01 PM CST
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MONROEVILLE, Ala. (WALA) - Expecting mothers across the Monroeville area said a hard goodbye to the only labor and delivery department in the county.

Wednesday, the maternity ward of the Monroe County Hospital closed for good.

This is a part of a trend many rural hospitals in Alabama are facing, including another hospital in Shelby County.

Either close a department or close their doors.

Alisha Bowen is one of nearly 100 expecting mothers in Monroeville who had a six-week heads up to change birthing plans.

Her due date is quickly apaproaching at the end of December, and now she will have to travel 90 miles to get to University Hospital in Mobile.

“We’ve heard that ambulances can take up to two hours to transfer someone from our hospital, and all it takes is a foggy night in December for a life flight not to be able to fly, so we will have to rely on our emergency room, and there’s a lot of fear about what happens after today,” said Bowen.

Bowen said disappointment has loomed in Monroe County since the sudden announcement in September.

She said many have felt helpless, and there wasn’t much the community could do to stop it.

“Shocked, disappointed, especially in our local leadership, and ultimately dismayed for those who do not have my resources, for the women who will struggle to travel,” she said. “I worry for the women who do not have transportation and already struggle to get to Monroeville.”

Now, she hopes other important branches of the hospital won’t see the same outcome.

“While we are starting with labor and delivery now, I hope that we don’t close other vital services in our rural area,” she said.

According to the Monroe County Hospital, the Labor and Delivery Department lost $973,000 in 2022, and 75% of their births were Medicaid.

They said the closure comes because of a lack of insurance and a doctor shortage.

In a quote to FOX10 News, they said, “We make decisions every day to maintain the sustainability of the hospital. It is our responsibility to make sure the hospital stays open. And in considering the greater good, sometimes hard decisions must be made.”