This story has been getting a lot of attention. Here are the basic facts from a local TV station:
LOWVILLE, N.Y. – Officials at Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville have announced they will stop delivering babies temporarily at the end of the month due to a staffing shortage.
Officials say it’s due to employee resignations over their requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Our sister station WWNY in Watertown is reporting 6 employees in the maternity unit resigned rather than get a COVID shot and another 7 are undecided.
According to hospital officials the hospital will be unable to safely staff the unit and will pause delivering babies after September 24.
Hospital officials are hoping this is a temporary situation and say they will work with the state Department of Health to make sure the unit doesn’t permanently close.
You have to imagine that the loss of 6 maternity unit employees leading to the closing of a maternity ward means that the hospital doesn’t deliver many babies — you’re right. This hospital had 201 babies delivered last year, while the average hospital in New York State had 1,023, and the average hospital in the nation had 589. Also, there’s a hospital 15 miles away that has won a labor and delivery excellence award three years running.
A few more questions to consider when you go beyond the headlines: who were those healthcare workers? Were they highly-skilled and hard-to-replace maternity nurses, or were they CNAs and cleaning staff who will be replaced by vaccinated workers in a couple of weeks?
Anne Laurie posted a thread by David Frum detailing how “employees gonna quit over the vax” stories have resulted in nothingburgers — the whole thread is worth reviewing. The reason almost nobody quits is because universalization of vaccine mandates means you’re fucked if you do. This is especially true for healthcare workers. Between the New York State vaccine mandate, and Biden’s national mandate for healthcare providers who accept Medicare and Medicaid, there are very few places healthcare workers can work without being vaccinated.
I have no doubt that a number of rural hospitals will have staffing issues due to the mandate, but I also don’t doubt that in a lot of rural towns a hospital job is one of the better ones on offer. There will be a few more stories like this one, but in the end, rural hospitals will be staffed, and some fools and dupes who had a decent job with benefits that are rare in rural towns will be scrambling to feed their families.