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Letter: Decision was made in the best interest of patients

To the editor,

In response to the editorial printed in this week’s Hastings Star Gazette, I thought it would be helpful to provide additional information and context for Regina Hospital’s new policy on submitting birth announcements to the newspaper.

Our top priority must be providing exceptional patient care. We made this decision on submitting birth announcements after a careful review of other hospitals and recommendations from experts. Both The Joint Commission and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have advised hospitals to discontinue publication of birth notices in local newspapers.

An advisory guide called “What Parents Need To Know” from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tells parents to consider the risks of birth notices. “Consider the risk you may be taking when permitting your infant’s birth announcement to be published in the newspaper or online. In general, birth announcements in newspapers are not endorsed by most experts,” cautions the guide.

At Regina Hospital, we agree that the birth of a child is a celebratory, life-changing occasion, one of which we are privileged to be part of for each mother and baby we care for in our Family Birthing Center. We also agree that a birth makes a nice headline in our community’s newspaper. We must, however, change a policy when we know it is the right decision for our patients and their families. The sad reality is that our world is different than it was decades ago – and that the safety and security of our patients must be protected even if it means making an unpopular decision for our local newspaper.

In your editorial, you state that you do not believe that this is a legitimate concern for a local hospital. Protecting the safety and care of our patients and newborns is a legitimate concern. At Regina Hospital, we are held to the same standards and guidelines as large, urban hospitals. We strive to be the hospital of choice for our local community. Yes, we certainly did have consents from parents before we provided birth announcement information to the newspaper, but after careful and thoughtful review we know that this is the right decision.

If new parents choose to submit birth announcements after the mother and baby are discharged from Regina Hospital, they may continue to do so by providing the information directly to your newspaper and that is their choice. Our hospital will continue to focus on providing a safe and healing environment for the birth of their child.