SANDPOINT, Idaho -- With the news that Bonner General Health will close its labor and delivery department in May, one expectant mother living nearby says she doesn't know what she'll do, knowing she now has to travel over an hour to have her child delivered.
"If I go into labor while he's at work, that's 20 minutes home and another 45 minutes there. So you're just crossing your fingers that the baby is not born in the car again," said Leandra Wright. Her last baby was born on the side of a highway.
This closure isn't just affecting people in Sandpoint, but in the surrounding area as well.
Leandra Wright will soon be a mother of seven. She lives in Sagle and has been receiving O/B care at Bonner General since 2020, when her daughter Juniper was born.
She thought she'd have her seventh child at Bonner General, until she received that the obstetrics unit is set to close in May.
"I was never notified of anything. I called today to my doctor to ask what future appointments were going to be like because I wasn't sure if that was changing too. And they said they're stopping everything in May," Wright said.
Now, Wright will need to drive an hour to Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene to have her child.
"I don't have a choice. I don't know what other option I have. They're going to suggest people to me that I can start care with down there," she said.
Wright says the news on the closure has her concerned for her future child, and all the other expectant mothers in the Sandpoint area.
"I feel sorry for anybody in my situation or even earlier on or anybody who has any kind of worry with their pregnancies. I don't know. I've had a couple of miscarriages. So anybody who has that has to drive all the time and or has to do this drive in the winter to have their baby," she said.
Bonner General says its working to coordinate care for women that are set to give birth after May.
Brontë Sorotsky joined the 4 News Now team in July 2022 as a Multimedia Journalist. Brontë was born and raised in Los Angeles, and is a graduate of San Francisco State University’s Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts program. Before joining the 4 News Now team, Brontë was a Reporter and Anchor at our sister station in Pittsburg, Kansas. There, she covered impactful stories like the ten-year anniversary of the Joplin Tornado. When Brontë isn’t out on a story you can find her trying new restaurants in Spokane or enjoying a good book!