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Hurricane Michael-ravaged Bay Medical Sacred Heart to cease infant delivery services

The system cited a lack of space as reason behind the decision, which means 20 staff members will lose their jobs.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Bay Medical Sacred Heart, a Panama City hospital ravaged by Hurricane Michael late last year, is cutting obstetrical services due to limited space options in the first phase of reconstruction, the hospital announced.

The hospital closed down during the catastrophic hurricane, except for its emergency department, and is reopening in phases. The hospital will still have obstetricians on call for their emergency department, which is needed for it to retain its status as a level 2 trauma center.


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As a result, 20 associates who had worked in that department prior to Hurricane Michael will lose their jobs.

Additionally, according to a local report, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, also in Panama City, will now handle all baby deliveries for the county. That hospital was also damaged in the hurricane, but completely fully restored all services earlier this year.


Bay Medical was badly damaged by Hurricane Michael, which hit in October 2018. The hospital was forced to shut down temporarily and began the first phase of its reopening on January 2 with 75 inpatient beds, eight operating rooms and five cardiac catheterization labs.

Ascension is in the process of acquiring Bay Medical from Sacred Heart, which is already part of Ascension, and said further investment "to significantly expand bed capacity is planned soon," pending the completion of the transaction, which is expected this month. That deal was announced in December when Sacred Heart announced it would acquire Ardent's majority interest in Bay Medical and become the full owner and operator. 

More details on the reconstruction and reopening of Bay Medical are expected following the closing of the transaction.


"We want to assure expectant mothers that the offices of their Bay Medical obstetricians remain open. Additionally, the obstetricians remain on call to care for emergency obstetrics patients coming to our two ERs. Obstetrics was not one of the major services provided by Bay Medical before the hurricane," the system said in a statement.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
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