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Community Members Protest Possible Cuts to Local Hospital

"I want the community to know that this is happening and the hospital can't do without, you know, anybody knowing about it. I feel that these soon to be mothers, they should know what's going on in the community instead of just hearing in the newspaper that it's closed. They should have a voice about it," said Matthew Gossert.
WAYNESBORO, Pa. - On Monday night, a possible cut to the Waynesboro Hospital's Birthing Center brought hundreds of community members out to protest. They fear the decision could raise unemployment in their tight-knit community. 

There was an estimated 40 people who turned out at Waynesboro Hospital, all because the Board of Directors of Summit Health could potentially shut down the Birthing Center. Folks came out to peacefully protest to show concern for their jobs, and also concern for their community. 

Anticipating a child, many say it's supposed to be the happiest time for future parents, but what happens when a birth plan goes down the drain because the hospital's birthing center might close?

One Waynesboro couple, who are trying to start their family, are upset that a familiar and comfortable place to bring a child into the world, might not be there for them. 

"I was born in Waynesboro, my parents were born in Waynesboro, my grandmother was from the area and I want my children to be born in Waynesboro. I don't want them to be born in Chambersburg. I don't want them to be born in Hagerstown. We're a small town, but there's enough people here that it matters to me. I feel that they should have a voice in this," said Matthew Gossert. 

With the potential of the Birthing Center at Waynesboro Hospital closing, folks are going at least 10 miles down the road to Chambersburg, or even further to Hagerstown to get the services that they need. And while there are nearby hospitals, the Gossert's aren't willing to use them. 

"Well we haven't had experience with the OB's, but we have had experience with the Chambersburg Hospital itself and I will not go there. And Meritus, I've heard that they do good, but I just don't know anybody from there and this is my hometown and I would like to deliver in my hometown," said Amber Gossert. 

If the Waynesboro Birthing Center does close, it could also leave 24 nurses potentially without jobs. 

"I actually know all the nurses that work here and the one that delivered me still works there. I have family that works there, so it's not just for me and my children but for family members so that they still have a place to work," said Amber Gossert. 

Summit Health Public Relations Director Jessica Walters says as of right now everything's still operating normally, and she doesn't have any information as to if or when things might change. 

But folks in the community still gathered outside the hospital on Monday to show the board the decision to close the birthing center will affect the entire community. 

"I want the community to know that this is happening and the hospital can't do without, you know, anybody knowing about it. I feel that these soon to be mothers, they should know what's going on in the community instead of just hearing in the newspaper that it's closed. They should have a voice about it," said Matthew Gossert. 

Members of the community were gathered at the hospital since 3:30 Monday afternoon, and they're expecting to continue to protest until 8 p.m.

Summit Health released a statement from Melissa Dubrow, Chief Operating Officer at Waynesboro Hospital around 4 p.m. Monday which stated:

"On behalf of the physicians, staff, volunteers, auxiliary members, and Board of Directors at Waynesboro Hospital, I’d like to extend our gratitude for the outpouring of support for our Birthing Unit.

We are deeply touched by the stories you’ve shared, and we are honored to have been beside you as your families have grown.

Our Birthing Unit is operating as usual while we continue to evaluate options related to our Obstetrics practice and our maternity services at the hospital. We hope to reach a decision within the next week, and we will issue a press release as soon as we know more." 






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