Murphy, NC – Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital (EWCH) officials announced today, Wednesday, Nov. 20, that Labor and Delivery services will not be offered beginning the first week in December. Also closing in the OB/GYN practice, which is set to be shut down Dec. 31.
Mark Kimball, the Chief Executive Officer for EWCH, said, “Throughout the United States, rural and community hospitals have seen a sharp decline in these service areas as more women are choosing larger systems for their OB/GYN care or (are) at a point in their life when they no longer need obstetrical services. Our region has seen this same shift in demographics and the choices women make over the course of many years.”
Medical care will still be offered to pregnant women who require emergency services.
EWCH’s Emergency Room is open around-the-clock to assess and stabilize patients until they can be transported and all other emergency services will still be provided, including air medical neonatal transport.
The closest options for Labor and Delivery services are Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, N.C., Erlanger East, and Erlanger Baroness Hospital. Both of those hospitals are in Chattanooga, Tenn.
General women’s health and screening services are available through Erlanger primary care offices. There is one in Hayesville (Dr. Karen Davis) and two more in Andrews (Dr. Dena Snead and Dr. Matthew Snead) that are currently accepting patients and offer routine medical care and women’s services.
Kimball also said, “We understand how much our hospital means to our employees and to the many people born here and who live in this region. We will work with our staff to offer other job opportunities during this transition and want the surrounding communities to know we are here to care for their residents.”
Patients with questions or concerns are encourage to contact the hospital between normal business hours at 828-837-1332.
To visit the hospital’s website, click here.