Martin General Hospital wants to close OB department

Sleeping baby, Photo Date: July 25, 2008 / Cropped Photo: Seth Baur / CC BY 2.0

WILLIAMSTON, NC (WITN) - Pregnant women in one Eastern Carolina county may soon have to give birth in another county.

Martin General Hospital says effective at 7 am on October 21st, it wants to no longer provide labor and delivery services.

Martin County owns the hospital building and when the hospital was sold in 1998, the new owner entered into a 30-year lease. County commissioners will consider an amendment to that lease at its September 11th meeting.

"Over the last several years, we have closely monitored our obstetrics service line and determined that the declining demand is not optimal to maintain a high-functioning unit," said hospital CEO Joan White-Wagoner. "The golden number for maintaining optimal performance in an OB unit is 300 deliveries per year."

The hospital says it's a trend across the country, as fewer babies were born in 2018 than in any other year since 1986.

Expectant mothers will have to now go to Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington, Vidant Edgecombe in Tarboro, or Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Martin General says it will continue outpatient and inpatient gynecological services.