Maternity ward may be saved: Frick says it has doctor coming
MOUNT PLEASANT — Donald Kettering, MD, medical director of Frick Hospital, announced at the hospital’s time capsule dedication ceremony Wednesday that Westmoreland Health System signed a contract last Friday with an obstetrician who plans to come to Frick Hospital.
According to David S. Gallatin, acting chief executive officer for Westmoreland Health System, officials do not want to release the name of the female doctor who is coming from Ohio until all the paperwork has been approved.
“Since she’s coming from Ohio, we still have to do some work with the state to make sure her license transfers,” said Gallatin.
Larry Sedlemeyer, vice president of strategy/marketing development for Westmoreland Health System, said that they hope to have all the paperwork in order as early as next week.
Although Gallatin said that the maternity ward at Frick Hospital will still hopefully remain open, Sedlemeyer added that “there still has to be a very demonstrated community need to use it.”
Since July, employees and members of the community have become concerned that they might lose their hospital, after it was announced that the maternity ward might be closed if an obstetrician/gynecologist couldn’t be found to take the place of a doctor that will retire by October. It was later announced that a candidate had been found to fill the position, and that the maternity ward at Frick Hospital would stay open.
However, a press release issued in mid-August by the Westmoreland Health System, stated that the candidate it hoped would fill the vacancy left by the retiring doctor, had, in fact, accepted a position with another hospital.
That left the future of the maternity ward questionable once again, but Wednesday’s announcement will bring hope to the community, according to Gerald Lucia, mayor of Mount Pleasant and member of the Westmoreland Health System board.
“It gives hope and life that we can continue on with the OB department, and for Dr. Robert Greene, it gives a support doctor so he can keep his patients here in the Frick community,” said Lucia.
“Hopefully this is a new era that we can grow off of and maybe add a few more obstetricians so that we can keep that department of Frick viable to the community,” he added.