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Cooley Dickinson child birth center revamp in wake of infant, mother deaths

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital Friday announced it is reorganizing its Childbirth Center in the wake of a state Department of Public Health investigation into six troubling incidents in the last two years.

The state issued a report on the investigation of three incidents that resulted in the deaths of one mother and two babies.

Last month, hospital officials acknowledged that an infant died during childbirth, possibly due to what it called “fragmented communication” among staff during decision making as the birth progressed.

The hospital reported that case, saying its own investigation identified changes to implement immediately in Childbirth Center protocols. Further investigation in two other cases uncovered other areas for improvement, according to a release issued Friday.

“We want to express our deepest sympathies to the families involved,” Dr. Mark Novotny, Chief Medical Officer and Patient Safety Officer said in the CDH press release. “I have personally reached out to all of the families. Nothing we could possibly say can make up for their losses.”

The hospital intends to reorganize the Childbirth Center to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.

“As Cooley Dickinson’s new CEO, I can assure you that I have been working since my arrival on March 31 with my team here at Cooley Dickinson and our partners at Massachusetts General Hospital to make this unit one of the best places for mothers and babies in Massachusetts,” President and CEO Joanne Marqusee states in the release.

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