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May 24, 2017

Calais hospital to stop delivering babies by year's end

Calais Regional Hospital, citing heavy losses due to a decline in baby deliveries since 2007, will close its obstetrics department by the end of the year.

The Bangor Daily News reported that when the phase-out of baby deliveries is completed by the end of the year it will leave Washington County with only one hospital with a full-service obstetrics department.

The newspaper reported that the hospital delivered just 60 babies last year, down from more than 100 annual births averaged before 2007. That decline, coupled with a shortage of nursing staff, led to unsustainable financial losses.

The newspaper reported that a union representing 80 nurses at the Calais hospital issued a statement characterizing the planned phase-out of obstetrics as a "dangerous decision" that will require residents of northeastern Washington County to drive to Machias as the closest alternative for obstetrics care.

In its latest annual report, Calais Regional Hospital reported $1.3 million in losses for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016.

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