NC mayor fights to save rural hospital


Adam O'Neal, mayor of Belhaven, N.C., has embarked on a fight to save the now shuttered rural hospital in which he was born, according to STAT.

Mr. O'Neal saw Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven as the "heartbeat" of the community, as it provided not only healthcare but jobs to residents. The hospital was shut down on July 1, 2014, less than three years after it was purchased by Greenville, N.C.-based Vidant Health. Since then, Mr. O'Neal has aimed to revive the hospital.

In what he sees as a matter of life and death, according to STAT, Mr. O'Neal and residents of Belhaven will go to court Dec. 28 to try to block demolition of the hospital.

"I keep seeing pain in my community, people calling me crying, and that's why I'm hollerin' and fussin'," Mr. O'Neal said, according to the report. He said he knows people whose health has been severely compromised because they must travel a longer distance — taking more than an hour — to get to the nearest hospital with emergency services.

"There are people with strokes, who could've recovered, but can't now," he told STAT. "There are needless deaths."

As part of his efforts to save PungoDistrictHospital, Mr. O'Neal has marched more than 700 miles, walking to Washington, D.C., on foot multiple times, as well as to the state capital in Raleigh. With the help of activists, including the NAACP, the mayor has led a campaign that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in unsuccessful attempts to repurchase the hospital.

A judge will decide Dec. 28 whether the demolition can proceed.


Copyright © 2021 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars