Nurses, community members hold protest vigil over Gresham birthing center closure

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:17 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GRESHAM Ore. (KPTV) - A birthing center in Gresham that serves hundreds of patients from East Multnomah and Clackamas counties is closing its doors at midnight Friday.

MHMC’s Family Birthing Center served thousands of people from east metro communities including Boring, Estacada, Gresham, Sandy and Wood Village.

SEE ALSO: Oregon Congresswoman talks mental health crisis

Legacy Mt. Hood Medical Center says it will no longer have staff to provide labor and delivery care. Patients are being referred to Portland hospitals.

Nurses and community members gathered outside the hospital for a candlelight vigil Friday night. They are hoping the hospital will reconsider its decision.

Mt. Hood Community Center nurse Christina Weathers says some of their patients already drive 45 minutes to get to Mt. Hood Medical Center.

“Those up on the mountain 45 minutes just to get to Mt. Hood adding another 45 minutes is 90 minutes in the car which is ample time for a loss of life for baby and mom,” Weathers says.

RELATED: Gresham hospital could lose license over impending birth center closure, OHA warns

According to the Oregon Health Authority, state law requires hospitals to get a waiver before they can stop providing labor and delivery care. Mt. Hood Medical Center does not have a waiver, but it’s closing the doors to its birthing center anyway.

The hospital says it’s seeing a decreasing number of annual births. It says that Legacy Mt. Hood has the lowest number of annual births when compared to 10 other birthing centers in the Portland-Vancouver-Salem region. These birth centers are staffed by doctors 24/7 which the hospital says is costly.