Two rural hospitals to stop delivering babies

CREATED Feb. 8, 2014

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NEILLSVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Two hospitals in west-central Wisconsin will stop delivering babies, saying it's too hard to recruit doctors willing to assist with births at rural medical centers.

An Eau Claire Leader-Telegram report says Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville will no longer deliver babies starting Feb. 15. Rusk County Memorial Hospital in Ladysmith will suspend deliveries March 2, a move officials hope will be temporary.

Both medical centers have been working with expectant mothers to direct them to hospitals in neighboring communities.

Lisa Montgomery of Memorial Medical Center says one factor in closing the birth center was the declining numbers of deliveries. She says about 30 babies are born in Neillsville every year.

Officials at both facilities say the decision wasn't easy but they want what's best for the mothers and newborns.