Humboldt County is a northern California community with many residents who live in rural areas. Women who are pregnant and live in these rural areas of the county may soon have to drive even farther to receive care and deliver their babies if the St. Joseph Health System who runs Redwood Memorial Hospital has their way. There are currently discussions about closing the OB/GYN department at the hospital and the public is outraged at the possibility.
Speaking to Heidi Walters of the "North Coast Journal," Dr. Jack Anderson stated,
"We're sort of Fort Apache down here. I think we're desperately needed. Get rid of the OB program here and eventually it's going to cost lives because of the additional travel time for some women to get to Eureka."
For generations, babies have been delivered and lovingly cared for by the doctors and nurses at Redwood's birth center. It opened in 1950s and continues to be one lovingly and vehemently supported by the community. There is a public meeting on Thurs., Dec. 5 at the River Lodge Conference Center in Fortuna so the community can voice their opinions on the closing of the birth center. The meeting begins at noon. Others have even taken it a step further and started a petition at Change.org to show the trustees in charge of decision how serious they are about keeping OB/GYN services at Redwood Memorial.
On a personal note, all three of my children were born at Redwood, Dr. Anderson delivered two of them and his then-partner Dr. Johansen delivered one. The nurses who were on staff at the time were amazing and helped make the experience one of joy and celebration. They are nurturing and genuine in their care of mothers and their babies. To lose this vital part of our community would be a tragedy.