Media Advisory For: Monday, July 21, 2014
Hyde County Citizens Devastated by Pungo District Hospital Closing Plead for Help to Reopen Hospital
(Swan Quarter, NC) On Tuesday, July 22 at 12 p.m., Hyde County citizens will share their stories from the last 20 days since the Pungo District Hospital closed of their loved ones suffering and in one case dying waiting to be transported to an emergency room.
Just in the last 20 days, we’ve had one death and at least one close call on Saturday night when the ambulance broke down on the way to Beaufort-Vidant Hospital transporting a man who had what was thought to be a seizure, according to family. He had stopped breathing before the 911 call was placed and was resuscitated by family members. It took nearly 2 hours between the 911 call and his arrival at the hospital in Washington, NC. He was later transferred to Vidant Hospital in Greenville where he is being treated now for a cardiac illness according to family.
On his 273-mile walk to Washington, DC to draw attention to the crisis, Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal carries with him a framed photo of Portia Gibbs of Hyde County who died on July 7 waiting for an hour for a helicopter after suffering a heart attack.
Vidant Health, Inc., which enjoys a near monopoly in eastern North Carolina, purchased the Pungo District Hospital and closed it down on July 1 less than two years later. A placard next to the sealed emergency room door instructs people to “call 911.”
Mayor O’Neal and members of the newly formed grassroots civic group, Healthy Communities United, believe that the new business plan sponsored by the town of Belhaven shows that Pungo Hospital can be financially viable, even profitable in three years.
Nearly 1,000 signatures have been gathered online and on paper petitioning Vidant Health and Pantego Creek LLC to release the hospital to the community so that the newly formed Community Hospital Board can implement the new plan and reopen the hospital.
What: Supported by community members, Hyde County families affected by Pungo Hospital closing share their stories and join other community members to plead for help in reopening the emergency room of the hospital.
When: Tuesday, July 22 at 12 p.m.
Where: Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department
25 Oyster Creek Rd, Swan Quarter, NC 27885
- Gibbs Family, whose mother and wife, Portia Gibbs, died on July 7 waiting for an hour for the helicopter.
- Campbell Family, whose son/husband, nearly died on his way to Vidant-Beaufort Hospital in Washington, NC on Saturday night.
- Clergy and civic leaders of Hyde County
- Members of newly formed, Healthy Communities United, grassroots civic group of concerned citizens organizing to reopen Pungo District Hospital and draw attention to the struggles of rural health care.