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Ochsner Medical Center in Hancock County to end labor and delivery service

Ochsner officials told WLOX that this decision to drop labor and delivery was not taken lightly; it was made transparently and in consultation with the county.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Ochsner Medical Center in Hancock County is about to end its labor and delivery services.

Staff is being moved to other departments within the center.

Ochsner officials told WLOX News Now that this decision to drop labor and delivery was not taken lightly; it was made transparently, and it was made in consultation with the county. They said that the demand for labor and delivery has been going down for quite some time.

Still, there are people who are upset, like Michael Hearty, whose daughter is pregnant.

“We were thinking as a local community that they were going to do better for us,” he said. “But instead it looks like they’re closing down everything to become like a clinic.”

He said his daughter will have her delivery in Slidell, but he is concerned about other expectant mothers.

“What about the people who can’t afford the gas, No. 1, to go to Slidell,” Hearty added. “Some might think it’s a joke, but we’re talking 30 miles could make the difference between somebody living and dying.”

In a written statement, Dr. Tim Riddell, Ochsner Health’s Regional Medical Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast, said, in part:

“As the healthcare needs of our communities have changed over time, we must continually evolve our service offerings to better meet those needs today and in the future. While we will no longer be offering labor and delivery services at Ochsner Medical Center - Hancock, we remain committed to providing women’s and children’s care.”

Hancock Women’s Center – just a block west of Ochsner – is now doing all surgeries and deliveries at Memorial in Gulfport.

Patient Heather Forstall decided early on that her C-section would be done at Memorial because of its neonatal intensive care unit.

“It is terrible for the people that either don’t have vehicles, and with the gas prices spiking up. I think it’s terrible for the expecting mothers having to find a hospital that has this NICU and has the labor and delivery.”

Labor and delivery services at Ochsner Medical Center in Hancock County will officially end May 31.

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