It is now official. Calais Regional Hospital has ended an era of delivering babies with the August 27 arrival of the final baby born on the Obstetrics Unit. The difficult decision was made in May after a careful review of the service line and operations revealed that the hospital could no longer sustain the unit due to the declining number of births at the hospital.
Ashlynn DeMolet arrived at 2:51 p.m. weighing 7 lbs 9.5 oz. Family includes proud parents Sarah Segien and Eric DeMolet and big sister Aubree of Eastport. Mom and Dad had nothing but praise for the staff of the Obstetrics unit. “They are so personal and attentive here,” said Sarah. “Dr. Hatem and the nurses have been wonderful.” Dad, being from a large Ohio city, says “it’s just so different here. I feel like they know us, like they wanted to know us. But, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the nurses here.”
Dad Eric is no stranger to the caring staff of Calais Regional Hospital. He called for a nurse from the emergency department shortly after the birth of his daughter. He was adamant she be a part of his expanding family’s experience because he says, “She saved my life. If it wasn’t for her I know I wouldn’t have a family today.” Eric says he is in recovery because ED nurse Diana Howell never gave up on him. “She always treated me with kindness and understanding and each time gave me a card of information for getting help.” And, one day he finally used it and turned his life around. “I’m so grateful we got to have our baby here. It was the best care and really special for us.”
In the months since the hospital announced that OB services would be ending, many of our nurses have found positions elsewhere – forcing the service to end with the August 27 delivery. “We knew that was a possibility. We understand and support our staff seeking new opportunities,” states Ericka Marshall, VP of Clinical Operations. Since the announcement in May staff have been working through the many details that encompass exiting the obstetrics service line. “Ericka has done a tremendous job with this process, working to ensure that all actions that need to be done are incorporated into the OB exit plan,” said CEO Rod Boula. “She consulted with staff from EMMC, the State and many specialists to develop the work plan – and carried out many of the necessary education sessions herself.”
It has been a bittersweet task for Ericka. She began her career at CRH as a CNA in OB. While working, she continued on and became an RN and moved through the ranks to be a top notch Obstetrics Nurse, Nursing Service Manager and finally Director of the Obstetrics Department. A role she kept even when she transitioned into her current position. “I learned how to be a nurse at CRH,” shared Ericka. “I also learned what it means to be a nurse.” While deeply saddened at the loss of this service, Ericka has done what great nurses do – put the patients of her community first by focusing her energy on creating a plan to ensure ED staff will be prepared if needed.
OB staff gathered on Tuesday for a bittersweet picture with the last baby and family. And with her discharge on August 29, CRH closed a chapter and ended an era of delivering babies with quality, patient centered care.