Ascension Healthcare Responding To Claims About Cutting Maternal Care In Some Hospitals

Adding a new baby to a family is an exciting time. One woman in Tulsa knows it very well, but she didn't like hearing some labor and delivery facilities were possibly closing.

Wednesday, April 10th 2024, 6:18 pm



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(Editor's Note: Ascension Saint John tells News On 6 that it is not downsizing or closing any of its labor and delivery lines.)

Adding a new baby to a family is an exciting time. One woman in Tulsa knows it very well.

"Your nurse has other patients, your doctor doesn't come in until you're pushing, and so just the realization of like you're really alone and you don't know what to do, and so to be that person and to be there and help you through that is just really fun," Kristy Ray, owner of Tulsa Family Doulas, said. 

She didn't like hearing some labor and delivery facilities were possibly closing.

"So, that concerns me because when you're pregnant there's so many things that can happen and the first thing that you're going to do is call the hospital maybe and talk with a nurse, and the first thing they're going to say, the only thing they'll say actually is just come in, you need to come in, worst case scenario we'll send you home," Ray said. 

The concerns come from claims made by National Nurses United that Ascension Healthcare has cut a quarter of its labor and delivery departments in the last decade.

NNU says it's the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the U.S.

Ascension Healthcare is one of the largest private healthcare systems in the country. It said it focused on providing the best care to patients possible, but NNU said it was doing the opposite. 

While not addressing any closures specifically, Ascension Saint John in Tulsa released a statement stating births in the U.S. declined by 13% from 2007 to 2019, and "our approach is a matter of making sure we provide patients with the right care, at the right place, at the right time," an Ascension spokesperson said. 

Ray said it is important for expectant mothers to have a labor and delivery room nearby.

"There's just a lot of variables like you need kind of closer care. I mean it's just vital to having a good experience and good outcomes," she said. 

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