City officials say two babies have been born at United Medical Center since regulators shut down the labor and delivery unit on Aug. 9 because of concerns about patient safety.
Tom Lalley, a spokesman for the District’s Department of Health, said the two mothers who gave birth in the care of United Medical Center were treated in accordance with a federal law requiring anyone who comes to an emergency department to be stabilized and treated. The city’s Department of Health regulates hospitals and maintains records of births in the District.
Lalley declined to provide the dates or any additional details about the births.
Jennifer Devlin, a spokeswoman for the hospital, previously said just one baby had been born during that time period. She said the discrepancy was due to the fact that one of the births occurred in an ambulance en route to United Medical Center.
“It just corroborates our suspicions that the operator Veritas is not on top of running this hospital,” said D.C. Council Member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7), who chairs the council’s health committee. “The way this hospital is being run in unconscionably poor.”
The health committee will meet Friday to vote on Gray’s request for subpoena power, a move that would allow the committee to compel United Medical Center board members and other witnesses to testify about the troubled hospital.
The ability to issue subpoenas has “the potential to really shed some light on the quality of care being provided,” Gray said Thursday. “I don’t know what else to do at this stage.”
The issue of births at the hospital came up Tuesday during a health committee hearing on the hospital.
Wala Blegay, a staff attorney at the D.C. Nurses Association, testified that babies continue to be born at the hospital after the obstetrics unit was shuttered, although she refused to estimate the number.
She said nurses would like to see the hospital reopen its obstetrics unit so that mothers east of the Anacostia River, where infant-mortality rates are the city’s highest, have a dedicated place to deliver babies and receive prenatal care.
A morbidly obese woman and her baby died in June 2017 after the woman, who was 35 weeks pregnant, spent six hours languishing in United Medical Center’s emergency room, The Post previously reported.
D.C. Health Department Director LaQuandra Nesbitt cited that death and other critical mistakes, including failing to take necessary precautions to prevent an HIV-infected mother from passing the disease to her baby, when it closed the labor and delivery unit.