Hope being born in labor and delivery

Published 7:30 pm Friday, May 20, 2011

The fate of Bryan W. Whitfield’s labor and delivery unit is far from decided but the direction in which it seems to be headed is certainly encouraging.

Less than three months ago the department was marked for closure. The prognosis for the financially-leaking unit was grim and there was no hope to save it.

Funny thing about hope.

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It pops up in the strangest of places and at the darndest of times.

Hope has been sitting in the hospital board room, combing and scratching at one solution or another for the past two-plus months.

Hope tapped Jay Shows with an idea that, while somewhat unorthodox, seems like a viable working solution. It was certainly well received by those who have a dog in the fight, which I have long been an advocate as being everyone.

Some may say the idea – with each interested party putting upwards of $100,000 and the hospital “eating” the remainder – is simply a band-aid. I wouldn’t argue with that. In many ways it is.

But band-aids are useful for their purpose. They close a wound and allow time to heal it properly.

That doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

The closing of the department was a financial stop-gap designed to close a more than $3 million annual loss at our hospital. The efforts to save that department do not undo that work. They simply offsets most of it.

With another approximately $2.8 million in expense-cutting initiatives underway, giving the unit 12 months to right itself while giving the other savings ideas time to work will ultimately provide a clearer picture of the department’s long-term viability.

Ultimately no one knows where this is heading. This song isn’t over and there are still hills to climb, but to-date much optimism has been put on the table where previously none existed.

Funny thing about Hope.

It has a way of making itself known to those who are willing to look for it.

I know there is both fear and trepidation on behalf of the nurses whose livelihood may or may not hang in the balance.

I understand that and do not envy the position in which you have been placed.

However, I can tell you, I have seen firsthand that there is a large group of people working very hard to preserve your jobs and the vital services that you provide.

I think and hope, there is some very good news for you just around the corner, although that corner may lie several more weeks away.

My thanks to the doctors, the governmental officials, hospital board members and others who have put so much time into finding hope where three months ago there seemed to be none.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.