Idaho City Hospital to Close Labor Ward, According to Reports
- An Idaho hospital, Bonner General Health, is planning to shut down its labor services in May.
- It cited staff shortages and bills that criminalize physicians as reasons for the decision.
- “We have made every effort to avoid eliminating these services,” the hospital’s president said.
An Idaho hospital made the decision to shut down its labor and delivery services in the coming months due to shortages and bills that “criminalize” doctors.
Bonner General Health, the sole hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho, issued the announcement on Friday, stating that physicians are leaving the facility because of the “political climate.”
“The Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care,” the hospital said in a statement. “Consequences for Idaho Physicians providing the standard of care may include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to jail time or fines.”
According to the Idaho State Journal, doctors have resigned from their positions due to these concerns.
In Idaho, abortions are illegal with the exception that the procedure will save a pregnant individual’s life or in situations involving rape or incest. It’s one of several states where medical professionals can face criminal prosecution if they carry out abortions, according to Stateline.
Last year, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the strict bans are in violation of federal law, as Insider previously reported. Per the Associated Press, a coalition of medical groups also sided with the DOJ.
In their statement, Bonner General Health added that the hospital will halt labor and delivery services in May as a result of a lack of pediatricians. Additionally, a decrease in patients has also worked against them when trying to hire physicians long-term. The statement noted that the hospital only delivered 265 babies and admitted under 10 pediatric patients last year.
“We have made every effort to avoid eliminating these services,” Bonner General Health’s Board President Ford Elsaesser said in the statement. “We hoped to be the exception, but our challenges are impossible to overcome now.”
Bonner General Health did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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