TULSA, Okla. — Ascension St. John Medical Center in Tulsa is planning to cut back some of its pediatric services.
2 News Oklahoma obtained an email from Ascension St. John detailing the plan. It said the hospital is closing its pediatric intensive care unit and general pediatric inpatient unit.
2 News Oklahoma spoke with a pediatric doctor affiliated with Ascension St. John. They said there are 22 beds between the PICU and the general pediatric unit at the hospital.
Another doctor tells 2 News the hospital averages 100 pediatric admissions in a month. With fewer beds available for children, they worry about the surrounding communities that rely on Tulsa hospitals for pediatric care. Those patients will be sent to Saint Francis; however, doctors worry Saint Francis can't take the additional patients. The next closest options are two PICUs in Oklahoma City. From there, families will have to go out of state to find a PICU.
In the email sent to staff, the hospital said this is part of a plan to make way for a $27 million ICU expansion. The plan is to add 36 adult ICU beds over the next two years.
Ascension St. John confirmed the plan in a statement saying:
"Ascension St. John Medical Center recently announced our plan to invest $27M to expand adult ICU capacity over the next two and a half years, which is expected to place ASJMC at the forefront of regional, critical care access. In order to accommodate the additional adult critical-care capacity we announced our plan to close our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and general pediatric inpatient unit effective April 30, 2022. This decision was based on both a community needs assessment along with a thoughtful analysis of services already being offered in the community. There will be no interruption to our current pediatric ambulatory or surgical services, nor any interruption to our neonatal intensive care (NICU) services."
However, one of the doctors we spoke with said Tulsa needs more pediatric services, not less.
The pediatric unit is set to close on April 30.
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