closed to community

In the news:

STOCKTON — Dameron Hospital closed its Maternal Child Health service line Wednesday, ending more than 100 years of delivering babies, treating the sickest infants and caring for children up to age 14. In the process, 70 workers including nurses, respiratory therapists and others will lose their jobs.

Ten years ago, I was there. I lasted just one year.

Transitioning from the Bay Area where I grew from a newborn baby nurse to an experienced, skilled NICU nurse to practice in the Central Valley was most definitely an adventure for me in Stockton. I was not in Kansas…or the Bay Area…absolutely anymore. Still I learned much from some very talented, skilled people committed to provide the very best of care to the most vulnerable population in the Central Valley.

Dameron, for me, was not home; not where I should be, and I knew this so soon after I began there. But for the nurses, respiratory therapists and others…the 70 strong, the ones whom I did work with for a little more than one year, the ones devoted to the community, the city, Dameron Hospital was home. For almost all of them, Stockton was and is home. Because Stockton is their home, my former colleagues had a unique calling to care for and serve the sickest of babies…and laboring women …and children up to the age of 14 in a city 300,000 strong; a 300,000 strong city now with only one 366 bed hospital within her city limits to provide obstetrical, neonatal and pediatric acute care services. But last Wednesday, at a mandatory staff meeting, they were informed their department was shutting down in two days time.

Yesterday four new mothers and their newborns were discharged from Dameron Hospital in Stockton and that was that.