Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Despite an outcry from community leaders, public activists, and families across Western North Carolina, Angel Medical Center’s Labor and Delivery Unit will be no more after Friday, July 14. Mission Health System gave the public 60 days notice of the closing and despite hundreds of people begging the hospital giant to reconsider, the L&D closure will become official on Friday.

Rather than continuing to dwell on what unfortunately became the inevitable, staff at Angel Hospital wanted to celebrate the accomplishments of the unit and all the Angel babies born in Macon County over the years.

Erma Cooke, a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Angel decided to honor all of the good things and successes that Women’s Healthcare Unit have accomplished over the past 23 years.

Cooke said that despite the major disappointment and anger over the decision to end the unit at AMC, the good things that were accomplished by the staff and the mothers over the years need to be celebrated, and she’s planned a party to do just that.

“The goal of this party is for us to celebrate what we’ve accomplished here. This staff made this unit the place to deliver your baby in Western North Carolina. The party is my way of saying ‘thank you’ to the staff.”

The party is not sponsored by Angel Medical Center, and is organized by Cooke herself. Cooke wanted to plan something that  recognized the staff for everything they were able to do and all the good they were able to accomplish over the last two decades in Macon County.

“We need to take the moment and just acknowledge the hard work that we all did, and the great outcomes that we had,” she said.

The celebration is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, at Currahee Brewing. The celebration will continue into the evening, with an official presentation scheduled for 5 p.m. to honor the staff.

Cooke hopes people will join the AMC staff to share stories of their Angel babies or experiences with AMC’s L&D nurses.

If you would like to share how your life has been touched by this team, send your story to ecooke2350@aol.com or drop by the brewery for a WHCU Sheet o’ Love. All stories are destined to be printed in a commemorative book.

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