Windsor

Change to hospital could force babies, moms to London

The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital fears a potential downsizing of its neonatal intensive care unit could mean loss of doctors and force women to give birth in London.
Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said a change would mean up to six obstetricians would no longer be needed at the hospital. (CBC)

The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital fears a potential downsizing of its neonatal intensive care unit could mean a loss of doctors and force women to give birth in London.

The province is in the process of reviewing Ontario’s 14 NICUs. Windsor’s NICU is currently classified as a modified Level 3 care centre but wants to become a full Level 3 unit. However, according to CEO David Musyj, the province is looking to increase the number of Level 2 centres and that could mean a demotion for his hospital.

Musyj called such a decision "devastating for the community."

"It will negatively impact 50-60 babies in a year and some 300 moms," Musyj claims.

Windsor currently has the ability to care for pregnant women and newborns who are a minimum of 26 weeks. A change would mean those women and babies would have to head to London for care.

"That’s not practical. If we were talking about one or two babes a year, then we wouldn’t have this discussion. But we’re talking about 50-60 babies. We need to maintain the Level 3 NICU," Musyj said.

Sarah Oman is the mother of twins. Even after giving birth in Windsor, one of her girls had to be transferred to London for care. She stayed there a month.

"I felt very cut off from the world, almost like you’re in protective custody," said Oman, who spent time in London. "Your support system is around where you live. Being two hours away makes it more difficult and more expensive."

Friday, staff at Windsor Regional Hospital introduced media to a set of naturally-conceived quadruplets born there.

"This particular [mother], who came here at 26 weeks and started showing signs of labour, we wouldn’t be able to provide care. She would have to leave the city," Musyj said. "These quadruplets would not be born in Windsor. We would not have the clinical expertise to deliver these babies."

Musyj said a change would mean up to six obstetricians would no longer be needed at the hospital.

"Any mom who has any complication could not stay in this facility and be cared for," Musyj said. "Since 1982, we’ve been operating as a facility that can care for babies at 26 weeks old. We’ve been doing it forever and we hope to continue."