Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Plainfield Births May Dwindle

As a child growing up in the radio era, I often heard the Jack Benny show, featuring Mary Livingstone of Plainfield, New Jersey. It was all a fiction, of course. Jack Benny’s wife and comedic partner Sadye Marks aka Mary Livingstone was born in Seattle and raised in Vancouver, B.C.

But there are many real famous Plainfield natives and several thousand people born in Plainfield, merely by dint of the change from home births to hospital births. Click here and scroll down for a list of famous Plainfielders.

The possible (or probable) closing of Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center after 130 years made me think of the change it will make in future news and obits. One’s birthplace may bear no relation to one’s hometown, as I can attest. My daughter was born in Glen Ridge, even though we lived in Montclair at the time, and my son was born in New Brunswick while we lived in Piscataway.

The cachet of a Queen City birthplace may soon shift. In testimony Monday, speakers said of about 1,100 annual births at Muhlenberg, obstetrical services at JFK might be able to handle only about 400. The other 600-plus would have to take place at other hospitals.

The drop in Plainfield births may impact the city’s Vital Statistics division at some point as well. There could be a sharp drop-off of people seeking birth certificates if no more official births took place here.

Worse yet, expectant mothers may have fewer choices of obstetric care in the region.

From what I hear, fear of litigation has reduced the pool of obstetricians markedly in the metropolitan area. The simple and natural process of giving birth is now rife with issues of costs (ex: the drive-by delivery) and bizarre implications that may leave children born as American citizens without a mother who gets deported for not being documented.

Plaintalker has no suggestions or advice for this situation, but maybe readers can offer comments that will enlighten us.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger olddoc said...

Bernice, This is not ideal but the existing OB unit in the building housing the ER could be retained as a "birthing center" available to doctors and midwives.Staffing is a problem that could be addressed. Any problems could be transfered urgently to JFK.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? No more officials will be able to say "I am a real Plainfielder"? Maybe now people will be less able to defend the status quo in Plainfield since no one will really be from Plainfield. Gee! Not a bad deal for future generations!!!!

9:48 PM  

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