Sitka Community Hospital stops delivering babies

Valya Warner is Anchorage's first baby of 2018.
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SITKA, Alaska (AP) - Sitka Community Hospital has ended its child delivery services three months ahead of schedule.

Daily Sitka Sentinel reports that the hospital will stop delivering babies on Friday due to staffing issues.

The hospital in December planned to move labor and delivery services to Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital starting April 1.

Mt. Edgecumbe is about a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) drive from the community hospital.

The move was made because the community hospital does not deliver enough babies to maintain a safe program.

Industry standards call for a team of doctors to deliver 100 babies a year to ensure competency, but the hospital sees only 30 to 40 each year.

The early closure will impact five patients with babies due between Friday and March 31. The community hospital will continue pre- and post-natal services.