North Charleston natural birth center may be forced to close - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

North Charleston natural birth center may be forced to close

Posted: Updated:
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC -

A natural birth center in Charleston may be forced to close its doors after they say the Department of Environmental Health and Control is reinterpreting one of its regulations .

The regulation under question is state Regulation 61-102, Sec. D.6.a.1 which states, "A physician must be on call and available to provide medical assistance at he birthing center at all times that it is serving the public."

Lesley Rathbun, director and owner of the Charleston Birth Place, said DHEC has never enforced the regulation in that way.

"They've been interpreting it to mean the physician is available over the phone for almost 20 years now," Rathbun said.

Now, Rathbun said, DHEC is forcing her center to have the on-call physician come to the center to diagnose the problem before sending the mother to the hospital.

Natural birthing centers, like the one in North Charleston, staff midwives to assist with childbirth. The center is not equipped to administer Anesthesia or perform Cesarean sections. The DHEC standards are in place to protect a mother and her unborn child if an emergency does arise.

According to an official from DHEC, the state organization started taking a harder look at natural birth centers after a mother suffered a miscarriage. The mother was under the care of a midwife at a Fort Mill birthing center but was transferred to a hospital once complications arose.

Only 15 percent of mothers who are in labor at her birth center have to be transferred to the hospital. Many of those, Rathbun said, are for non-emergencies such as long labor. True emergency transfers make up less than 1 percent of trips to the hospital, according to Rathbun.

Despite those low numbers, DHEC did send a letter to the center saying they have 15 days to come up with an action plan to follow the regulations, or it will be forced to close.

Since word started spreading throughout the Lowcountry about the possible closing, Rathbun said many women have come forward to support natural birth

"There's been a really big response from women because it's a woman's choice as to where she gives birth and with whom," Rathbun said. "That's a basic, civil and reproductive right for women."

Alison Inglis is one of those new mothers who had her first child at the center. When interviewed by News 2, the newborn boy was less than an hour old.

Inglis said the new interpretation of making the doctor come to the center prior to sending the mother to the hospital could be detrimental to the health of the mother and her child.

"Why would you waste time rather than going to a place or a facility, like a hospital, immediately when the healthcare professional in charge, a midwife, deems that necessary," Inglis said.

A spokesperson for the center said that the center is planning to sue DHEC. Details of that lawsuit have yet to be revealed.

  • Horse carriage crashes in Charleston Market

    Horse carriage crashes in Charleston Market

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:49 AM EDT2014-04-23 07:49:43 GMT
    Tuesday evening, about 5:10 p.m., a carriage horse was spooked and crashed in the Market district of downtown Charleston.
    Tuesday evening, about 5:10 p.m., a carriage horse was spooked and crashed in the Market district of downtown Charleston.
  • Former Crisis Ministries CFO accused of embezzling more than $400k

    Former Crisis Ministries CFO accused of embezzling more than $400k

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:09 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:09:13 GMT
    Tuesday it was announced that former Crisis Ministries employee, Carol Libby, is facing five additional charges of wire fraud in connection with an ongoing embezzlement investigation.
    Tuesday it was announced that former Crisis Ministries employee, Carol Libby, is facing five additional charges of wire fraud in connection with an ongoing embezzlement investigation.
  • Rhode Island senator visits Charleston to learn about climate change

    Rhode Island senator visits Charleston to learn about climate change

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:34 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:34:36 GMT
    Nestled on James Island is the South Carolina Marine Resources Center which houses scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the College of Charleston,MUSC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It is a place climate change and it's affects on the world's oceans are put under a microscope."Istudy phytoplankton, a microscopic algae that live in the ocean and produce half the world's oxygen. And we're trying to understand how changes in c...
    Nestled on James Island is the South Carolina Marine Resources Center which houses scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the College of Charleston,MUSC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It is a place climate change and it's affects on the world's oceans are put under a microscope."Istudy phytoplankton, a microscopic algae that live in the ocean and produce half the world's oxygen. And we're trying to understand how changes in c...
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.