FAYETTEVILLE – Cape Fear Valley Health announced that Bladen County Hospital’s Family Birth Center will not reopen. It has been closed since September after suffering extensive damage during Hurricane Florence.
Bladen County Hospital had just 200 deliveries last year and the number had been declining as more women chose to deliver at larger hospitals. Last year, half of Bladen County’s new mothers delivered in hospitals in surrounding counties.
“Reluctantly, Bladen County Hospital is joining the many rural hospitals nationwide that have been forced to discontinue inpatient maternity services,” said Roxie Wells, M.D. “The need for specialized staff around the clock, including nurses, nurse anesthetists and obstetricians, makes it too costly for low-volume rural hospitals to provide the service.”
The critical access hospital will continue to provide emergency services, inpatient services and surgeries. Bladen County Hospital’s Emergency Department will remain staffed to triage emergencies, including pregnant and laboring mothers, and will transfer delivering patients to area hospitals as necessary and appropriate.
“Cape Fear Valley Health is committed to ensuring that the healthcare needs of Bladen County residents are met today and for years to come,” said Michael Nagowski, Chief Executive Officer of Cape Fear Valley Health. “Cape Fear Valley demonstrates this commitment by providing grants to Bladen Community College for instructors’ salaries and nursing scholarships to enrolled students. These initiatives help ensure a well-trained local workforce to care for Bladen County residents.”
The health system has also added primary care clinics throughout the county to improve access to primary care. Bladen Medical Associates opened clinics in Clarkton in 2017 and White Lake in 2018. In addition, a new modern building was completed for Bladen Medical Associates’ Dublin office.
Although inpatient maternity services will no longer be provided at the hospital, women can continue to receive prenatal and postnatal care locally at Bladen Women’s Health Specialists. Shakonda Strayhorn, M.D., and Allan Boruszak, M.D., will continue to provide prenatal care, postnatal care, women’s wellness visits, gynecology and GYN surgery at their office in Elizabethtown. However, Dr. Boruszak is retiring in March.
Patients who receive prenatal care at Bladen Women’s Health Specialists can elect to deliver at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville. Cape Fear Valley OB/GYN has six obstetricians and six certified nurse midwives that provide labor and delivery care.
“Cape Fear Valley Medical Center delivers 5,000 babies each year,” said Dr. Wells, “making it an excellent choice for delivery. New moms will appreciate the security of having a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on site to care for premature infants and full-term babies with medical issues.”
Bladen County women may also elect to travel to nearby Lumberton or Whiteville for prenatal care and delivery.