Kathleen Towne’s son Zackary is seen in Windsor Regional Hospital shortly after being born in 2013.
Courtesy of Kathleen Towne / Windsor Star
Kathleen Towne remembers the moment her pregnancy took a turn for the worse.Having a C-section at 29 weeks and 5 days hadn’t been the plan, but it was one that she felt comfortable with because of the care and support she received from those at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic.Now, six years later, Towne has joined more than 5,000 others in signing an online petition that demands the clinic remain open.After the hospital announced last week that they were closing the 18-year-old clinic, which cares for moms of high-risk pregnancies, an online petition was started at change.org. The petition, Don’t Close High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic at Windsor Regional Hospital, has received close to 5,000 signatures. Dozens of signers, who have benefited from the clinic or had high-risk pregnancies, also left comments that say removing the service is a mistake.For Towne, the clinic monitored the hypertension and pre-eclampsia she developed while pregnant with her son.As a result of these symptoms, Towne had to return to the hospital five days in a row for tests and treatment. As her condition grew worse, she had to be hospitalized.I just believe that this clinic is essential for moms in the West Windsor and Essex County areaTowne said without the clinic, she likely would have had to travel to London to receive the appropriate care — a two-hour trek up the 401 that would have put more stress on herself and the baby.“I’m very appreciative that I was in Windsor, where I could have family and friends support, where I could have my husband, where I could go home every night, until I was hospitalized, to sleep in my own bed,” Towne said.
Kathleen Towne’s son Zackary is seen earlier this year.
Courtesy of Kathleen Towne /
About 11 weeks shy of being at term, the clinic decided that Towne needed a C-section to maintain her own health and that of her baby boy, Zackary Small. Towne said Zackary is now a healthy six year old because of the care she received from Dr. Bill Mundle, the clinic’s director, and his team.“If we lose this clinic, if we lose Dr. Mundle, we will not have somebody who will deal with high risk pregnancies here in the city,” Towne said.Yet, a news release from Windsor Regional Hospital said that despite the clinic’s closure, services won’t change.“WRH will continue to care for and treat high-risk moms locally. However, we also will continue to refer moms we cannot treat locally to London and Toronto. We do that now even with the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic,” the release states.The newborn intensive care unit (NICU) will also continue to care for premature infants from 26 weeks old.A spokesperson from Windsor Regional Hospital, Steve Erwin, said that the hospital’s CEO David Musyj is aware of the online petition, but that the “decision is final.” The clinic will close by the end of October.According to the hospital, the clinic costs $460,000 per year. Dr. Greg Hasen, the hospital’s chief of OBGYN, previously told the Windsor Star that he doesn’t anticipate a lot of patients will be impacted by this decision.Related
But, Mundle has said that the clinic performs about 500 high-risk consultations every year and more than 1,500 high-risk prenatal visits. Patients with a high-risk pregnancy could be treated for a number of issues, including abnormal ultrasounds, congenital heart disease, hypertension, organ transplants and genetic abnormalities.For those who have been treated for these types of complications, like Towne, they know the immense value of having a designated clinic.“I just believe that this clinic is essential for moms in the West Windsor and Essex County area,” Towne said. “So I am very sad for the families of high risk pregnancies.”firstname.lastname@example.org