To the Editor:

I find it incredible executives of the Western Connecticut Health Network want to close the birthing center at New Milford Hospital.

Two of my children were born in the maternity ward there in 1964 and 1967. My grandson was born there in 1998 (emergency C section, breech birth).

In 1964, there were approximately 12,000 people in New Milford. Now there are more than 29,000.

To want to close the birthing center in a growing town seems a misguided decision. If necessary, why not downsize the facility using efficiency engineers to redesign it?

Estimated travel time to Danbury Hospital is given at 25 minutes.

Surely, you jest. If you live in northern New Milford or Warren, time could exceed 60 minutes. Bridge repairs, flooding of Route 7, accidents, snowstorms and traffic jams could lengthen travel time considerably.

Shutting down maternity care in New Milford would greatly interfere with OB-GYN doctors' locations. They might be forced to move their practices out of town. They are not at liberty to say, "take two aspirins and call me in the morning" when a baby is due to be born.

Shouldn't we expect the Western Connecticut Health Network to commit to maternity care that New Milford Hospital has provided to generations of families in the community?

Marilyn Hendricks

Warren