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City of Warren needs a maternity ward

DEAR EDITOR:

Dec. 3, Trumbull Regional Medical Center announced it would close the maternity ward Dec. 31. The closing of the maternity ward at Trumbull Regional Medical Center will leave a void in the city of Warren with the previous announcement of Mercy Health moving its St. Joe’s (St. Joseph Warren) Hospital to Champion Township.

Having a local maternity ward has always been critical to facilitate safe deliveries and reduce infant mortality rates here in Trumbull County. Complications in labor require immediate attention, often from specialized doctors. Without a nearby emergency room specializing in obstetrics, Warren mothers will be at increased risk.

Having to travel outside of Warren to Mercy Health’s facility, when it is built, is a long distance for an expectant mother on the most important day of her life. I’m worried about how the closure will affect community members without easy access to transportation.

This could be particularly devastating for our county’s African-American population. Both statewide and in Trumbull County, the infant mortality rate for African Americans is three times higher than white babies. Trumbull County ranks among the highest — 85th among 88 counties in Ohio — according to the University of Wisconsin’s County Health Rankings with an infant mortality rate of 8.1 per 1,000 live births.

Elected officials, doctors and families from all over the area should be speaking up about keeping the maternity ward in the city of Warren and I feel our families would be better off if the services remained available.

TOM SHAY

Leavittsburg

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