Mesquite hospital’s closure of obstetrics unit opens generation divide

MESQUITE — Amanda Cook dreamed of being a mom of four until Mesa View Regional Hospital closed its labor and delivery unit last week.

Now, she says, having another baby could mean the difference between being a living mother of three or dying during childbirth and leaving four children motherless.

“I don’t want to have one more baby if there’s not a safe way for the baby to be delivered,” said Cook, 28, a Mesquite resident since 1996 who has a blood clotting disorder that makes childbirth risky.

The hospital’s labor unit and nursery closed Oct. 1, despite a 2002 development agreement under which the city provided the land for the hospital for $1 in exchange for it providing a list of services, obstetrics included.

Since the closure, moms-to-be must now travel to deliver their babies in a hospital, either to St. George, Utah, about 40 miles northeast, or to a hospital in Las Vegas, 82 miles southwest.

Cook is one of several Mesquite residents who voiced concerns at a Sept. 11 City Council meeting, saying that the closure of the town’s labor and delivery unit would drive out young families and keep new ones from moving to a city where more than half of the residents are over 50, according to census data.

Divide between young and old

Theresa Woolridge-Ofori, a Mesquite dentist and wife to one of two obstetrician-gynecologists in the fast-growing town of 18,500, said that the closure had opened a divide between the town’s young and old.

“Young people in this community are sick of being disenfranchised when it comes to issues that concern us,” she told council members.

Though hospital officials discussed closing the unit in 2012, the city didn’t agree to a contract amendment authorizing the change, and the unit stayed open. But the disagreement boiled over in late August, when Mesa View’s new CEO Ned Hill announced the closure, saying demand is “simply not there.”

According to the hospital, deliveries at Mesa View have decreased by 74 percent in the last decade, dwindling to 63 in 2017.

“Discontinuing elective deliveries will allow our hospital to continue building up the services most needed in our community,” Hill said, adding that the hospital hired five new practitioners in other specialties with the money saved from the closure.

The city is trying to force the hospital to reopen the unit.

In a complaint filed in District Court last month, it argued the hospital violated the 2002 agreement by closing the unit four years before the 20-year contract ended. The hospital argued that the contract was not enforceable because it doesn’t reference a state law that governs development agreements.

District Court Judge Richard Scotti denied the city’s motion for a temporary restraining order and a hearing for a preliminary injunction. Mesquite City Attorney Bob Sweetin said the city plans to file a separate motion for a preliminary injunction while the court decides whether Mesa View is bound by its existing contract.

Residents argued at the Sept. 11 meeting there might be a few reasons for the decrease. Mindy Hughes, 36, said she already planned to deliver at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George because their bills from the nonprofit hospital would be less than at Mesa View. Shae Stricker, 27, was planning to deliver her third child at Mesa View, but didn’t mind heading to St. George — her previous two were born at Dixie Regional Medical Center.

If a woman is in labor and can’t travel to St. George or Las Vegas, she can still deliver at Mesa View’s emergency department. That’s where paramedics have been instructed to take patients, said fire Capt. Spencer Lewis. “It’s far better for the mother and baby to deliver in a clean, sterile environment than moving down the road,” he said.

He acknowledged that crews aren’t trained to check how much a woman is dilated.

“The only thing we check for is if the head is coming out,” he said, adding that while he doesn’t expect a significant increase in call volume, Mesquite’s first responders are on edge with the additional responsibility.

‘A mom is going to die’

Dr. Joseph Adashek, a Las Vegas OB-GYN who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, said he worries that lack of access to specialized care could result in more complications for women with otherwise healthy pregnancies. Moreover, delivering in an ER increases risk for mothers and their newborns, he said, because ERs generally don’t have pain management tools, like epidural shots, or the skills and equipment to resuscitate a baby.

“The emergency room is a bad place to have a baby; it’s just not set up for it,” Adashek said. “Even for us (obstetricians), when we go to deliver a baby in an emergency room, it’s much more difficult, and they don’t have the supplies. A mom is going to die, and until that happens enough no one is going to (have the) political will to change it. It’s inevitable if you have to go that far for health care.”

Local Videos
Library director talks about library as community center
Ron Heezen discusses his hopes for the new East Las Vegas Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Property Brothers visit Michael’s in Las Vegas Valley
Twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott are the hosts of Property Brothers, the hit HGTV show where they help couples find fixer-uppers and transform them into dream homes. In 2018, the brothers collaborated with Michael's on their first custom framing program. Today they're releasing new frames into that collection that range from natural to bright looking. Jonathan and Drew discuss their brand and why frames was something they wanted to pursue. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 traffic jam
A semitrailer stopped in the middle of Interstate 15 near Charleston Boulevard has slowed traffic in central Las Vegas Wednesday morning, April 17, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rainy Tuesday
The Las Vegas Valley saw cooler temperatures and rain Tuesday afternoon. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Tiger Woods Bettor Collects
James Adducci bet $85k on Tiger Woods to win the Masters. He collected his $1.19M from William Hill sports bet in the SLS today. (Mat Luschek /Review-Journal)
Endangered frogs released at Springs Preserve
Dozens of endangered Relic Leopard Frogs were released at the Cotton Grove inside Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, Thursday, April 11, 2019
Vintage World War II aircraft arrive at Henderson Executive Airport
The Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom tour comes to Henderson Executive Airport with a B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, P-51 Mustang and a P-40 Warhawk. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Honoring Pearl Harbor veteran
Ed Hall, a Pearl Harbor veteran in Las Vegas, is honored with Quilt of Valor during an event in a Las Vegas. (Erik Verduzo/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Anthropology professors excavate Maya ruin site of Caracol, Belize for 36 years
The husband-and-wife team of UNLV anthropologists has spent several months a year at the remote site of Caracol in the jungles of Belize, excavating ruins and uncovering secrets from the region’s once-dominant civilization. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Things to remember when adopting a rabbit this Easter season
As Easter and spring time approach, some people may be tempted to adopt a rabbit for the holiday. But like adopting any animal, it is important to be responsible and know what a rabbit requires to be a happy, healthy pet. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bike Giveaway in Las Vegas - Piero’s Italian Cuisine
Evan Glusman of Piero’s Italian Cuisine hosted a party in the restaurant’s parking lot to distribute over 150 bikes to local kids. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Charleston/I-15 ramp configuration
The new Interstate 15/ Charleston Boulevard ramp configuration was unveiled Tuesday morning. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Northwest Vegas farm's abandoned pig problem
Someone abandoned a several hundred pound pig at Sharon Linsenbardt's farm. Her farm is a rescue for animals, but she doesn't have room or resources to take on another such creature, so she's asking the community for help. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Chalk Talk: Black Student Union
Students talk about the Black Student Union in the latest episode of Chalk Talk. (Angus Kelly and Amelia Pak-Harvey/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Individuals with Parkinson's participate in dance class
Pamela Lappen leads a dance class for individuals with Parkinson's Disease at the Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas, Thursday, March 28, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Review-Journal
Animal Foundation Preps Pups For Best In Show
The Las Vegas Animal Foundation is preparing its prime pups for their 16th annual Best in Show event, which takes place at the end of April. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Dog Yoga At Hydrant Club
The Hydrant Club in downtown Las Vegas, is a social club for dogs and their people. Recently the club started hosting dog yoga. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Butterflies At The Springs Preserve
The butterfly habitat is now open at the Springs Preserve. Learn about butterflies and take in the peaceful surroundings. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Conservatory's spring display has a Japanese theme
The Bellagio's conservatory is hosting around 65,000 flowers, to form a Japanese theme this spring. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs closes (Caroline Brehman/Kimber Laux)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas officially closed its gates Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Honoring a fallen North Las Vegas Police officer at his namesake school
The 20th Annual Raul P. Elizondo Honor Day celebrates the fallen North Las Vegas Police officer's legacy at his namesake school. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Windy day in Las Vegas Valley
The Review-Journal's camera on the under-construction Las Vegas Stadium the was buffered by high winds on Wednesday, March 14, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
March gloom falls on Las Vegas
After a rainy overnight, gloomy skies hover over Las Vegas Tuesday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
John Katsilometes gets his head shaved at St. Baldrick's
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes gets his head shaved by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman during St. Baldrick's Foundation shave-a-thon on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York in Las Vegas Friday, March 8, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Blue Angels take flight over Las Vegas Strip
The Blue Angels’ U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron flew their signature Delta formation over a part of the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and east Las Vegas and were scheduled to fly over Hoover Dam. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Gross World Records
A group of about 20 children gathered around a TV at Sahara West Library on Feb. 27 for a history lesson on the most disgusting world records.
Graduation for Renewing HOPE program
The Renewing HOPE program graduation for homeless who spend nine months in Catholic Charities program. Graduates are preparing to enter the workforce. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Car crashes into Starbucks near Las Vegas Strip
Lt. William Matchko of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police gives details about a car crashing into a Starbucks at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, near the Las Vegas Strip, on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Car crashed into PT’s Gold
A 60-year-old man who police believe was impaired drove into a PT’s Gold at Silverado Ranch and Decatur boulevards Thursday night, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. William Matchko said. The driver was hospitalized and is expected to survive. A man inside the bar was hit by debris but drove himself to the hospital, Matchko said. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (part 1)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life Videos
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Army medic’s Afghanistan story told in new book
The graphic novel “Machete Squad” is based on journals written by Las Vegan Brent Dulak.
Las Vegas man talks about losing his wife
Dwayne Murray, 37, lost his wife, LaQuinta while she was at Centennial Hills Hospital. A jury awarded him $43 million last week after it said the hospital failed to perform the standard of care in administering a drug for her sickle cell disease.
Home Front Page Footer Listing