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The End of an Era:
Memorial Hospitalís Maternity Center

Shawn Carey and Bethany Dodge are the proud parents of newborn Brynleigh Eve Carey.

By Jeff Russell

History was made at Memorial Hospital in Towanda on Monday, September 16 at 3:45 p.m. when a beautiful baby girl was born. Brynleigh Eve Carey will forever be remembered for being the last baby to be born at the hospitalís Maternity Center.

Brynleighís proud parents are Bethany Dodge and Shawn Carey of Towanda. Brynleigh has a big sister, Bailey, who is four years old. Bailey was born at Memorial Hospital too. Bailey could be seen dancing and twirling with excitement upon the arrival of her new baby sister.

"We are thankful that we could have our baby at Memorial Hospital," Bethany said. "This hospital has been an important part of my life for my entire life."

Bethanyís mother, Cindy Vanderpool, a laboratory phlebotomist, has worked at Memorial Hospital for 31 years. As a matter of fact, Cindy was born at the hospital and she gave birth to Bethany at Memorial Hospitalís Maternity Center. Bethanyís dad was born at Memorial Hospital too.

Bethany, a medical technologist, is also an employee at the hospital. "We feel very special to be the last family to enjoy the wonderful experience of having our baby at Memorial Hospitalís Maternity Center," Bethany says. "People at Memorial Hospital are like members of my family. It was nice to be surrounded by familiar faces. I enjoyed having my family with me throughout the whole experience."

"Dr. McCullough is wonderful. Janet Stanley was my nurse at the time of Brynleighís delivery. She was supportive, kind and reassuring. She even stayed with me beyond her scheduled shift just to be sure I had everything I needed. It just doesnít get any better than that," Bethany said with Shawn nodding in agreement.

Maternity Center History

The origin of Memorial Hospital dates back to 1925 when Mrs. Hila C. Mills opened the Mills Maternity and Convalescent Home located on South Main Street, in Towanda. This facility was a two-bed maternity home that served as the foundation to develop what is known today as Memorial Hospital, Inc.

In 1959 Memorial Hospital, Inc. of Towanda was incorporated and opened a new 42-bed acute care hospital which brought into existence a modern hospital facility and additional hospital services. Thousands of babies have been born at Memorial Hospital since that time.

Sadly, as a result of a recent steady decline in the numbers of births at the hospital along with financial challenges, the Maternity Center at Memorial Hospital closed on September 20, 2013.

Significant Personal Experiences

On September 20, 1974 Nissa Marie Pelton Ott was born at Memorial Hospitalís Maternity Center. "It is a sad day for me to know that the Maternity Center is closing on my 39th birthday. Both of my boys were born at Memorial Hospital. I am sad to see the Maternity Center close," she said.

Interestingly, the first baby to be born in 1959 at the brand new hospital was Carol Sue Brown Ackley on October 16. Being born at the new hospital must have made a profound impression on Carol; she returned in 1980 as a healthcare professional. Carol recently retired from Memorial Hospital as the manager of the central services department after 33 years of service.

Carol Sue Brown Ackley and Brynleigh Eve Carey will forever share important first and last historical milestones at Memorial Hospital.

Many generations of families in this region have enjoyed fond memories and personal experiences of bringing new life into their homes through Memorial Hospitalís Maternity Center.

Perhaps the profound words of encouragement penned by Alexander Graham Bell the famous scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator conclude it best: "When one door closes, another door opens."

Maternity Center Nursing Staff Says Tearful Goodbye

The Maternity Center staff was honored with appreciation on the closing day of Memorial Hospitalís Maternity Center. Complimentary hot fudge sundaes were enjoyed along with reminiscing of good memories and hugs among the Memorial Hospital family. "It has been a blessing for me and the Maternity Center staff to help care for new moms and babies; each and every one of them has touched our lives. We are happy to be a part of these treasured memories," said Kirsten Case, RN, Maternity Center Nurse Manger. Pictured, seated from left, Kim Burgert, RN, MSN; Kirsten Case, RN, Nurse Manager; Seija Smith, RN. Back row, from left, Janet Stanley, RN, BSN; Nancy Becker, RN; Abby Russell, RN, BSN; Patti Cuddy, RN, BSN; Martha Dunn, RN; Diane VanNote, RNC; and Sally Hulslander, RNC. Absent from the photo include Melissa Keefe, RN, BSN and Tina Gain, RN, MSN.

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Press Release
September 23, 2013
Contact: Jeff Russell 268-2444