Women push back after hometown hospital decides to shutter birthing unit

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FRANKFORT, Ind. -- Two Frankfort women are going on the offensive after their hometown hospital decided not to deliver babies anymore.

IU Health announced in February that it will shutter the OB department at the Frankfort Hospital when it takes over on June 1st. St. Vincent decided not to renew its contract for the county-owned hospital.

Sarah Brandenburg and Charissa Melton, both lifelong Frankfort residents, contacted FOX59 and local officials, hoping to bring attention to the decision.

Melton gave birth to four of her five kids at the hospital. Brandenburg gave birth to both her daughters, the oldest of which had a life-threatening condition.

"One of the nurses, when I had my daughter ... her shift was an eight hour shift. She stayed there for 14 and a half hours until I gave birth," Brandenburg said.

In a statement, IU Health said it made the decision "based on a trend of declining births." The company went on to say, in part, "...patients in the Frankfort area can receive comprehensive prenatal and post-delivery care at IU Health medical offices in Frankfort, and deliveries will be cared for at IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette or another provider of (the) patients' choice."

IU Health also said its birthing services at Arnett Hospital are more comprehensive than at the smaller Frankfort location.

Melton and Brandenburg, though, said they think the change will hurt their community and take away a service they both appreciated.

"You see the nurses and, you know, talk to them outside of being in the hospital," Melton said.

"We have women all over this community that deserve to have the same thing that we had," Brandenburg said.

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