MADRAS, OR -- For the next month, expectant mothers in Jefferson County who go into active labor are asked to go directly to St. Charles Redmond, instead of the Madras hospital. St. Charles Madras CEO Jeanie Gentry says this is the first time her hospital has had to close to certain patients for such a long period of time. "This is something that all hospitals have to divert patients of different types, from one time or another. But, when it comes to OB, when we never know when a baby is going to arrive, it’s a little more difficult."
She says a couple of experienced OB nurses moved to other facilities, leaving Madras without enough labor and delivery nurses for every shift. Gentry says the hospital lost a couple of veteran Obstetrics nurses, and several new hires, including three from Jamaica, aren’t ready yet. "Those nurses and a couple of others are almost done with their training, but they’re not quite done. Part of that is that we don’t deliver babies every day here in Madras. So, this break in diverting patients to Bend and Redmond is going to allow them to go to Bend and Redmond and complete their training in a higher volume place."
Emergency Obstetrics patients will still be treated in Madras during the diversion period, as needed. Gentry tells KBND News, "We’ll still have one O.B. nurse on each shift. The same doctors that take care of our O.B. patients also take care of our in-patients, here in Madras. It’s our family practice docs that do O.B., so those physicians will still be on-call. If a person can be safely transported to Redmond or Bend, we’ll help make that happen. But, if that’s not safe, we’ll definitely take care of the mom and baby here." When it's safe to do so, Jefferson County medics will take women in labor directly to Redmond. She expects the O.B. closure to last approximately 30 days.