For expecting mothers, finding the right hospital to deliver at is a big decision. But for women on and near Cape Cod, Falmouth Hospital may no longer be an option, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our pregnancy journey wasn't easy," Alyssa Marini of Wareham said.
When Marini found out the place she planned to deliver her baby—Falmouth Hospital—would stop birthing babies, she was shocked.
"My shock soon faded and turned into anxiety and fear. Fear of the unknown and anxiety that I would be able to deliver at Cape Cod Hospital," she said.
The hospital's ownership decided to close its maternity and inpatient pediatric departments to make way for treating adults diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The change is effective April 6.
Mike Lauf, the president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare said they have been "… monitoring declines in patient volume and challenges in physician coverage in the Falmouth Hospital obstetric and pediatric units."
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"Should the COVID-19 models play out, there will be an increased demand for inpatient beds for the critically ill and those battling COVID-19 on Cape Cod," Lauf added.
OB/GYN offices in Falmouth, Bourne and Sandwich will still be open and Falmouth Hospital will be available for emergencies.
Lauf's company says, when possible, Falmouth Hospital doctors and nurses will be made available for deliveries at Cape Cod Hospital.
Marini said that's an hour from her home. She's due in September.
"My insurance requires prior authorization and if it gets denied, I honestly don't know where I'm going to deliver. I would be forced to change my doctors and my hospital half way through my pregnancy," Marini said.
There is a petition circulating online to reverse Falmouth Hospital's decision. It now has more than 2,000 signatures. A hospital spokesperson declined to comment about that.