Michael Hunnewell 0

We need to move maternity wards to a separate building!

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My wife is due to give birth within the next few weeks here in Massachusetts. It is our strong belief that Massachusetts and its hospitals must create a maternity ward for deliveries that is in a completely separate building from anyone infected with COVID-19.

We, as a state, are taking an unacceptable risk by continuing to house new baby births in the same building as COVID-19 patients.

We understand that the system is already struggling with this situation, and to execute a plan to move a maternity ward would be an additional burden. However, the risks are too great to carry on as we are currently: All of the options I can find for giving birth with licensed professionals in the state of Massachusetts are in the same building as people with COVID-19.

One Step Behind

The hospitals we spoke to in the last couple of months are now making huge efforts to contain the virus and try to make things safe for new mothers and their babies within the current environment in their hospitals, but these efforts are not enough. If you look at the recent history, we as a state have unfortunately failed to contain the virus. Boston 25 news reported that as of April 15, their unofficial tally of hospital workers testing positive in this state was over 1,500. At every turn in this crisis, we have been one step behind. We need to employ the Precautionary Principle and act Now, before we have another crisis that could have been avoided. The spread of this virus is not well understood. There are asymptomatic carriers. We only have to observe the drastic measure that were taken in China and the uncontrolled spread here at home to understand it is right now impossible for our current systems and procedures to mitigate the risks. We are currently sending our mothers-to-be into the same building that houses ever increasing concentration of a novel and deadly virus—and our controls aren’t working. We need to keep our new mothers and babies in a separate building.

Novel Virus

It has become obvious that this virus is truly novel. The long-term effects are unknowable at this time. There is troubling evidence emerging that people may not fully recover, or could be susceptible to re-emergence and/or re-infection. We have asymptomatic carriers everywhere, and we have no idea what the long term effects of this disease are. We don’t know if this virus may behave like HIV or Hepatitis C, or even worse. It is impossible to know at this early time, but there are some unsettling clues. There are studies going around that there may be permanent lung, brain, and heart damage. What are the effects 6-months out? 2 years? 10 years? We just don’t know and it doesn’t look good so far. We can’t keep sending our new mothers and babies into the same building as this virus. We need to set up a maternity ward in a separate building. You may consider this hyperbole, but what if it’s not?... if HIV were airborne and spreading at lightning speed, would we consider moving our expectant mothers to a separate building?

We need to think differently here. Please consider our request. I strongly believe that it is the right thing to do. We need to keep our new mothers and new babies in a separate building. It’s just too dangerous.




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