01/18/2019
  • 11:35 am Updated news about Bladen County Election Investigations
  • 5:07 pm Voters removed from registered list; 5 person board
  • 4:59 pm Rainfall impacting county farms
  • 4:49 pm NCDA&CS accepting applications  for 2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • 3:27 pm Public Hearing Feb. 18 on Draft Air Permit for Chemours to Install Thermal Oxidizer
  • 2:28 pm Joey Wood Taylor
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By Erin Smith

Aisha Royalty Mitchell will have the unique distinction of being the last New Years Day baby born in Bladen County. The birth center at Cape Fear Valley-Bladen Healthcare has been closed since suffering damages in Hurricane Florence and will not re-open.

She was born at Cape Fear Valley-Bladen Healthcare on January 1, 2018, at 7:55 p.m. weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Her parents are Trashawna Melvin and Donald Mitchell II and they took part in a program called the Expectant Mothers Program which included a diaper bag, a steak dinner and a sibling party.

Donnie Beyer, a spokesman for Cape Fear Valley-Bladen Healthcare, said on Thursday the hospital will not re-open its Family Birth Center. The reason for the closure, according to Beyer, is the fact Bladen County Hospital had just 200 deliveries last year and the number had been declining as more women chose to deliver at larger hospitals. According to a release from Beyer, last year, half of Bladen County’s new mothers delivered in hospitals in surrounding counties.

Bladen County Commissioners Chairman Charles Ray Peterson said, “It’s sad and devastating to lose any type of business in Bladen County especially when it’s medical care.”

Chairman Peterson said it is his understanding that the 14 employees who work in the Birth Center will be given the opportunity to take jobs in other departments or to transfer to the birth center at Cape Fear Valley in Fayetteville.

“The main thing is keeping the hospital in Bladen County. It is a Cape Fear Valley decision and they didn’t take it lightly,” said Peterson.

He added the hospital incurred a lot of damage from Hurricane Florence but it is open and accepting patients.

“Reluctantly, Bladen County Hospital is joining the many rural hospitals nationwide that have been forced to discontinue inpatient maternity services,” said Roxie Wells, M.D. “The need for specialized staff around the clock, including nurses, nurse anesthetists and obstetricians, makes it too costly for low-volume rural hospitals to provide the service.”

The hospital will continue to provide all other services including inpatient services and emergency department services including women who are in labor. Women who are in labor will be referred to Cape Fear Valley Health in Fayetteville.

Although inpatient maternity services will no longer be provided at the hospital, women can continue to receive prenatal and postnatal care locally at Bladen Women’s Health Specialists. Shakonda Strayhorn, M.D., and Allan Boruszak, M.D., will continue to provide prenatal care, postnatal care, women’s wellness visits, gynecology and GYN surgery at their office in Elizabethtown. However, Dr. Boruszak is retiring in March.

Patients who receive prenatal care at Bladen Women’s Health Specialists can elect to deliver at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville. Cape Fear Valley OB/GYN has six obstetricians and six certified nurse midwives that provide labor and delivery care.

“Cape Fear Valley Medical Center delivers 5,000 babies each year,” said Dr. Wells, “making it an excellent choice for delivery. New moms will appreciate the security of having a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on site to care for premature infants and full-term babies with medical issues.”

Bladen County women may also elect to travel to nearby Lumberton or Whiteville for prenatal care and delivery.

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