Hospital Closed

Story by WVUA 23’s Julia Smith.

For years, there have been talks about closing the Pickens County Hospital and on Friday, the doors closed for good.

Employees were left packing their belongings and wondering how the community will receive proper health care.

Mary Donald Windom went to the hospital in hopes of seeing her doctor, but it was too late.

“Came to see the doctor,” Windom said. “Can’t get in because the doors are locked. What a shame.”

People in need of medical attention will have to go to DCH Regional Medical Center, which is 45 minutes away from the county or to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Columbus, Miss.

“If we have to go to Columbus or Tuscaloosa, but [by]the time we get to the hospital we’ll be dead,” Windom said.

More than 100 employees are out of jobs with the closing of the hospital. Many former employees like registered nurse Tonya Bryant are now applying for unemployment. Employees had relationships with many patients and are concerned they will not get the care they need.

Angela Odom, a specialist for The Journey Detox, an addiction treatment center, joined the hospital 10 months ago in hopes of helping those who struggle with opioid addiction.

“We have actually been able to bring in 192 patients who have suffered from the disease of addiction or alcoholism into Pickens County Medical Center,” Odom said.

Businesses in nearby Carrollton will also feel the impact.

When Alice Jones, the owner of Town Square Diner, heard the hospital was closing on Monday, she was concerned for her business.

“They eat with us everyday and do business with us everyday so it is going to affect our business and probably more in our community,” Jones said.

A North Star Paramedics Services representative said that more ambulances will be in Pickens County in case of an emergency.

All paramedics have the tools to stabilize a patient until they reach the nearest hospital.

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