KENNETT, Mo. (AP) - The sudden closure of a hospital has left some expectant mothers in the Missouri Bootheel region scrambling for care in an area that already has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S.
St. Louis Public Radio reports that Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett announced recently that it will close in July.
The closure will leave the surrounding area in southeast Missouri without an OB-GYN. A hospital in neighboring Pemiscot County is taking on the Kennett hospital's OB-GYN and four other physicians, but that hospital is struggling to stay afloat, too.
The closure is critical because Dunklin County has some of the worst birth outcomes in the state. Babies die at twice the national average and one-in-five black children are born premature.
Information from: KWMU-FM, http://www.kwmu.org