In a last ditch effort to avoid the shut down of the maternity ward at St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown, the state’s largest nurse’s union has started an online petition.
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) calls the imminent closure “unconscionable” and asks the community to sign the petition “to demand St. Catherine keep maternal child services open for care!”
GreaterLongIsland reported last month that the hospital’s maternity ward would shut down Feb. 1 because the OB/GYN physicians who provide maternity care at the hospital are changing employers and their new contract prevents them from providing maternity care at St. Catherine.
Hospital officials made the announcement just days before Christmas.
“New York’s largest nurses union has started Save Our Services: Keep Maternal Child Health Open at St. Catherine!” NYSNA’s petition reads. “This unit has served mothers and babies in our community for generations.
“At a time when maternal mortality rates are abysmal, it is unconscionable that St. Catherine’s would choose to abruptly end these services that the mothers, babies, and families in our community desperately need,” the petition continues.
In his announcement about the closing, the hospital’s president Declan Doyle noted that “In the interim period, hospital-based maternity care previously offered at St. Catherine will continue to be provided at Good Samaritan University Hospital and St. Charles Hospital.”
A closure plan is now under review by the New York State Department of Health.
Top photo: A room in the maternity ward at St. Ctherine of Siena Hospital (Source: Facebook/St. Catherine of Siena)