A Middlebourne woman delivered a baby girl on Feb. 12 at Wetzel County Hospital. This is the first baby WCH has delivered since they discontinued obstetrics in August 2006. Hannah Grace Spencer, five pounds, 15 ounces, and 18-and-a-half inches long, is doing well and so are her very happy parents, Amanda and Charles Spencer of Gorrells Run.
"The experience was understandably a bit primitive, but it was exciting at the same time," said Amanda.
Amanda was scheduled to go to Ohio Valley Medical Center for her big day about three weeks later, but at 1 a.m. Feb. 12 she unexpectedly went into labor. Unable to get the family car out onto the icy roads, the ambulance was called. An EMT said there wasn't enough time and took her to WCH.
Although no longer formally equipped to handle deliveries, Amanda said the staff was very supportive and helpful and worked through the situation as best they could. "I could tell everyone was a bit nervous, but they showed great bedside manner and most importantly, everyone is fine," said Amanda.
WCH discontinued baby deliveries due to the low number of babies being delivered in the hospital as well as the high cost of maintaining the service, difficulty in employing obstetricians, and the high cost of insurance to provide the service.
As CEO George Couch explained, Wetzel and surrounding counties continue to have an aging, declining population.
"Unless there is a significant change in the demographics in the area, it is unlikely that either Wetzel County Hospital or Sistersville General Hospital will ever offer full labor, delivery, and nursery services."