Pickens County residents confront lawmakers in heated town hall meeting
Pickens County residents are hoping the Pickens County Medical will reopen. Many attended a town hall meeting Tuesday morning that got pretty heated.
Senator Gerald Allen was in the hot seat during the meeting, where several residents asked him why he voted for a budget with no money allocated for reopening the Pickens County Medical Center.
“Have you ever told a grandmother or mother that their child is dead because they don’t have a hospital?” Pickens County EMS driver Neal Lollar asked Allen. “What would it take to speed up this process? Have you ever rode on an ambulance and had a child die on the back of your ambulance? No. This county needs help,” Lollar said.
It’s been more than three years since the medical center closed due to lack of funding. People now have to drive an hour to get to the nearest hospitals.
“I could have died in my home if it wasn’t for Mr. Neal,” former PCMC nurse Alisa Lang said. “ I had to drive an hour just to wait for assistance, and I had to wait forty-five minutes for the ambulance to pick me up to take me forty-five minutes to a hospital. I could have died because my five mile hospital is closed.”
Many who attended the town hall meeting said they’re outraged Allen, who represents their area, voted in favor of a budget that did not include funding for the reopening of the medical center.
Annie Jackson came to the meeting with a photo of her sister Grenae Prude, who passed away on the street in Carrollton earlier this year.
”I hope no other family has to go through this,” Jackson said.
After taking a verbal beating during the town hall, Allen said “We are going to be back at the table with Governor Ivey fighting for the hospital. The hospital is important, there’s no question about that. We’re going to make our voices heard.”
All legislators present at the town hall said they are not giving up on the reopening of Pickens County Medical Center and hope to get the funding approved in the next legislative session.
Legislators are meeting for a special session of the legislature beginning July 17.