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Carthage birthing center to close by end of the year - KOAM TV 7

Carthage birthing center to close by end of the year

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Soon-to-be moms in and around Carthage will soon have to schedule labor and delivery in Joplin because the only birthing center in Carthage will close by the end of the year.

Kayla Walker is expecting her first child and is sad to hear the Spradling Family Birthing Center in Carthage will soon close.

"My baby is due December 7, so I'm kind of lucky with the cut off, with the birthing center closing in January," Walker said.  "But it's really disappointing for me and other women that are expecting later because they have to drive to the Joplin one."

Women like Walker, with due dates before December 31, can still deliver at the Carthage location.

After December 31, all deliveries will be made at the current Mercy Hospital in Joplin until the new hospital opens in March.

"The staff in Joplin and Carthage will be combined, so the staff that is here will all have the opportunity to go over there," said Barb Brightwell, Executive Director of Patient Care Services at Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital.

Hospital officials say should there be any complications during labor and delivery, it's important to have the newborns in Joplin already where there are more resources available.

Previously some babies born in Carthage have had to be rushed to Joplin for additional care.

Officials say the Spradling Family Birthing Center will close in January, instead of March, to allow enough time for training.

"They will get 12 weeks of neonatal intensive care training, that will be staff from Carthage and from Joplin," Brightwell said.  "We need to make sure we have that staff highly trained and ready to go to deliver outstanding care."

Brightwell says because of the better technology and resources in Joplin, she believes the move will be a positive change.

"It's a little sad, but it also is more of a win, win to me," Brightwell said.

"Just make the best of what comes," Walker said.  "It will work out."

Hospital officials say the rooms at the current Joplin location are the same as those in Carthage, where the baby never leaves the room and both units are locked and secure.
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