Elyria, OH – On Wednesday, July 30 Mayor Whitfield and members of his staff joined Dr. Rima Bachuwa to have a community discussion about the announced closure of the University Hospitals EMC Family Birth Center. Nearly 60 concerned residents and University Hospitals staff congregated nearby the hospital and shared their experiences and expressed their concerns about the impact of removing the center in Elyria.
Many of the attendees shared direct examples of how their own lives, and the lives of their infants may have been lost had it not been for the proximity of the Elyria Medical Center to them in their time of emergent labor and birth. Additionally, on Wednesday July 29 in the afternoon, the Office of the Mayor released a simple Resident Opinion Survey to gather insights on the community’s opinion about the closure, and provide a space to share their stories, opinions, and expertise. As of Friday, July 31, the survey has received over 796 responses including residents from Elyria (48.1%) and residents outside of Elyria around Lorain County and beyond (51.9%). An overwhelming 98% of respondents expressed that they want a birthing center in the City of Elyria and over 300 respondents agreed to collaborate with the city on this issue.
“We have never seen responses come in as quickly as they have for this survey. We’re hearing our community loud and clear that they want a center and are willing to fight to ensure it happens,” said Mayor Frank Whitfield “We heard numerous stories specifically speaking to how the proximity of the UH EMC Family Birth Center would have been life or death for families. Instances of mothers walking into the facility to give birth late into night and morning – experiences that would be further exasperated without a local option. I have also been shocked about how important this center is for surrounding communities. I saw this initially as an Elyria issue but I’ve gotten calls from Mayors and leaders from other cities and this decision poses threats to our region and community at large.”
Mayor Whitfield has met with local UH leadership and has requested a meeting with the UH Corporate leadership to explore what it will take to keep the Family Birth Center in Elyria. “This decision was made without even a discussion or exploration. Our community deserves an opportunity to see what it takes to keep the center and a shot at keeping it going.”