Ellie was 37 weeks pregnant and an hour away from the nearest hospital with obstetric care when she began experiencing shortness of breath and tightness in her chest. An at-home test revealed her blood pressure was spiking, but her home in southern Texas was dozens of miles from proper treatment. Ellie, who did not want her real name used for this report, didn’t know what would happen if she made that drive — and she feared for the safety of the baby she was expecting.

Left with no feasible options, she rushed to a nearby hospital that closed its birthing unit earlier this year. There, doctors decided Ellie needed to be transferred to a hospital with obstetric providers.

She asked to go to Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston to be with her own obstetrician, whom she saw throughout her pregnancy. But Ellie was mistakenly taken to the wrong hospital, where she underwent an emergency cesarean section.

“It was incredibly traumatic,” she said. “The stress of the transfer and being at the wrong hospital and sudden preeclampsia, it was very intense.”

Hospital closures and a shortage of providers are among the factors worsening maternity care in Texas and across the U.S.

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