Push for hospital reopening reignited after woman’s death in Carrollton


A woman died in Carrollton Wednesday what medical personnel say was likely a heart attack. This incident has local leaders wondering if the Pickens County Hospital was still open, would it have made a difference?

“We had a lady that died right in our hands,” Carrollton Mayor Mickey Walker said. “I am not talking about down the road.”

Walker said the woman died just a few feet from city hall.

“Our ambulance service had just went through transporting somebody to DCH (Regional Medical Center) a few minutes before,” Walker said. “That left us no ambulance service. This is what we are faced with every day. We are sitting right here with a hospital 3 minutes away. If that hospital was open, we could have put her in the back of a truck. We could have gotten her to the hospital.”

The Pickens County Hospital closed in 2020 because of what hospital leaders said was a lack of use. Now, the closest emergency rooms to Pickens County are in Columbus, Mississippi, and Northport, both more than 30 minutes away.

Pickens County ambulance service manager Vicky McCrory said this isn’t the first time she’s wondered if a local hospital would have ensured a better outcome.

“There’s been several, but this particular one stands out in my mind. The patient was experiencing a medical emergency,” McCrory said. “There was no ambulance available because we were transporting outside the county. Her family tried to get her help. Loaded her in the vehicle trying to get her to the hospital in Tuscaloosa. Unfortunately, she stopped breathing. They had to pull over on the side of the road and pull her out at night time and start CPR on their family member. An ambulance from Tuscaloosa showed up about 30 minutes later. At that point, she was deceased.”

Last year, Pickens County leaders presented nearly 11,000 signatures to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in support of reopening Pickens County Hospital. Walker said legislators are voting during this session on allocating funding to get the hospital reopened.

“It has already passed the House and been passed on to the Senate,” Walker said. “The renovations on a childcare adolescent psych ward would help fund the hospital and manage it. Then we want to get the ER open downstairs and we have already been talking with one of the hospitals about that. This will happen if they give us the funding. We have got to make this happen. Senators, if y’all see this, pass this bill tomorrow. Every day y’all wait is a day we are having somebody fall over dead down here. This is not funny anymore,” Walker said.

“Please help us,” McCrory said. “We are dying on the side of the road unnecessarily. Had the hospital been here, there would have been lives saved, possibly even the one yesterday. I am convinced of it.”

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