WASHINGTON - The obstetric unit at United Medical Center in Southeast D.C. has been forced to shut down after the D.C. Department of Health suspended its license for three months. A D.C. mother saw FOX 5's report about the suspension and contacted us to let us know how bad her care was at United Medical Center and she believes the health department made the right decision.
For many D.C. residents living east of the Anacostia River, United Medical Center is their closest medical facility. But for 90 days, those with obstetric care emergencies are being diverted to other hospitals miles away.
Emily Prailow said she recently had a terrible experience at United Medical Center when she went in for tooth pain recently.
"The way the nurses treat you - it's horrible," she said.
Because Prailow was pregnant, she was taken to the obstetric unit at the hospital. That is where she said her care was not good and her examination did not feel right. She believes she was given medication that made her feel high and she said she was told to go to another hospital for her tooth problem.
"I feel like the nurse that was dealing with me, I feel like she didn't want to deal with me, so she like pushed me off to another hospital," said Prailow.
When she got home, she went into labor and the ambulance took her across town to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Prailow said the care that she received there was amazing compared to United Medical Center.
But it is important to note that several people leaving United Medical Center on Tuesday praised the doctors and the health care that they received inside the hospital.
D.C. Councilmember Vincent Gray, who is the chairman of the health committee, announced on Wednesday that he will hold a special hearing into this matter. He said that he is not getting the answers that he needs from the Department of Health and Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration and will the hearing in September.
United Medical Center said in a statement:
On August 7, 2017 the District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) issued a notice to United Medical Center (UMC) restricting the hospital's license for obstetric and related newborn services.
The restricted license, which applies only to obstetrical patients and their newborns, will be in place for a period of 90 days, during which UMC will be able to address the cited deficiencies. These include three separate cases involving deficiencies in screening, clinical assessment and delivery protocols. HIPAA regulations preclude sharing specific details of these cases, however, UMC is taking immediate action to address these deficiencies.
UMC had already initiated the process of transitioning from a Level III neonatal intensive care center and we will be working to ensure that all physicians and nursing staff have appropriate training in policy and procedures. Until that process is complete, UMC will coordinate alternative services through Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and local hospital partners to care for our current obstetric patients.
Members of the public requiring emergency obstetric treatment are urged to use other D.C. facilities, with Providence Hospital recommended as the most accessible for Ward 7 and Ward 8 patients. Additional regional facilities with obstetrical capabilities include: Medstar Washington Hospital Center, George Washington University Hospital, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Howard University Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Prince Georges Hospital Center, and Southern Maryland Hospital. Based on DOH's Health Systems Plan, the District currently is well below capacity with regard to hospital beds and should be more than capable of accommodating UMC patients in the interim at these other facilities.
As a long-standing and integral part of the community, United Medical Center (UMC) looks forward to continuing to provide vital healthcare services to residents of Wards 7 and 8 as well as surrounding Prince George's County, Maryland.