Patient's death reignites calls to reopen Alabama hospital

Leaders and community members in Carrollton, Ala., are calling for the reopening of Pickens County Medical Center after a woman believed to be suffering a heart attack died May 10 en route to a hospital more than 30 minutes away, WVUA reported May 12.

Carrollton Mayor Mickey Walker said the town's ambulance service was tied up transporting a different patient to Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Ala., so the woman's family attempted to drive her to an emergency room in Tuscaloosa. The woman stopped breathing on the way, and the family had to pull over on the side of the road to perform CPR. An ambulance from Tuscaloosa showed up about 30 minutes later, but the woman had died. 

"This is what we are faced with every day. We are sitting right here with a hospital 3 minutes away," Ms. Walker told WVUA. "If that hospital was open, we could have put her in the back of a truck. We could have gotten her to the hospital."

Pickens County Medical Center closed in March 2020, citing reduced federal funding, lower reimbursement from commercial payers and declining patient visits. Pickens County leaders have since been lobbying to reopen the hospital.

On March 27, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey set aside $10 million to reopen the hospital, though the funding still needs to be approved by the state legislature. 

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