Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is just days away from temporarily suspending labor and delivery services because of upcoming retirements and departures of obstetricians on the hospital’s medical staff.
The E-T spoke with Chris Leu, president of Texas Health Stephenville, who is working to reassure the community that the hospital and the THR system are fully committed to restoring the service as soon as possible.
“We are actively and aggressively recruiting OBGYN candidates and are currently speaking to several of them,” Leu said. “We are not closing these services. In fact, our four labor and delivery rooms are currently under construction and are all being updated.”
The remodel is expected to be complete this fall.
Leu said deliveries will continue at the hospital through the end of July, then only a handful of babies will be delivered by Dr. Janie McMillion through mid-August.
Dr. McMillion and Dr. James Smith, both longtime physicians in obstetrics with offices at Stephenville Medical & Surgical Clinic, recently announced that they are closing their local practices.
Without an OBGYN on staff, the hospital was forced to suspend services.
The hospital delivers an average of 375-400 babies per year.
“Obviously this will make our budget and operations a little more challenging for us, but again, we are in this for the long haul. We are part of a strong system and we are all in this together,” Leu said.
Leu said the hospital has “a great team of labor and delivery nurses” who will continue working in Stephenville through August.
THR is working with those nurses to find a spot for them within the hospital system.
“When we turn the red light on and resume these services, we want them to be able to return to work here,” Leu said.
But when that day will come is anyone’s guess.
“There is no way to tell when we will get a new OBGYN on board but we are working hard to recruit,” Leu said. “We want to reassure the community that we are not closing the hospital. We are committed to this hospital, OBGYN services and this community.”