The Curry Coastal Pilot

GOLD BEACH - Labor and Delivery services at Curry General Hospital have resumed, and on March 5 the first baby - a healthy boy - was born in the new program, followed by a second baby boy delivered March 28.

Obstetric Services temporarily ceased in May 2013 when several nurses retired or resigned in close succession, leaving the hospital with no staff prepared to care for laboring women.

"This is a needed service we are committed to provide to the community," said Andrew Bair, CEO of Curry Health Network.

"We're pleased that mothers and families once again have the opportunity to have their babies in a safe, caring environment near home without the need to travel long distances."

When the program was halted, administration immediately made plans to resume as quickly as possible, and the goal of a January 1 reopening was set. Peace Health in Eugene was to assist with specialized OB nurse training, but that plan never came to fruition after their offer fell through. Although Chief Nursing Officer Lora Maxwell quickly reached out to Providence-Medford for the needed training, the result was a program far behind schedule.

"Our nurses have been training in the OB unit at Providence to gain needed proficiency," said Maxwell. "This relationship will continue in the future."

Dr. John Jackson came aboard earlier this year to head up the new OB Services program as OB medical director, working alongside Dr. William Fitts. Nurse midwives Alice Taylor and Shilo McKenzie continue as members of the medical staff and have full privileges at Curry General, including delivering babies. The midwives are fully supportive of Drs. Jackson and Fitts, and Curry General Hospital.