Letter to the Editor - Shutdown of OGBYN at CRH

It's come to my attention that Calais Regional Hospital is proposing to shut down its OBGYN program. I vehemently oppose this proposal and ask CEO Rod Boula to find another way.

 Shutting down CRH's OBGYN program would shift the hospital's costs to Washington County families. These costs aren't just immediate, like the loss of time at work and the expense of driving further to appointments. When healthcare is harder to access, people put off routine care - meaning that women with early-stage ovarian or cervical cancer may not be diagnosed until it's too late. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and an OBGYN department is essential to making comprehensive preventive care available to Washington County's women.

 OBGYN care isn't some frippery. Diminished access puts lives at risk - most obviously moms and their babies, but all women in the greater Calais area. This proposal singles out women's healthcare as something expendable, rather than as a necessity. Treating women's health as optional is treating women as optional. While there are many fantastic general practitioners and LPNs practicing in our area, the availability of specialized OBGYN care is a necessity.

 Finally, on a broader note, every human being is given birth to by a mother. If CRH's management doesn't consider OBGYN care essential, if it is deprioritizing birth, then it is treating its community like it is dying. I ask Mr. Boula to shelve this proposal and enlist community feedback in exploring alternatives.

Caredwen Foley