Franklin County residents work to bring back their hospital

LOUISBURG, N.C. (WNCN) — Its been more than six months since Franklin County’s only hospital and only emergency room closed.

Back in October, Novant Health announced it was closing Franklin Medical Center. It gave its 140 employees there and the community just 10 days notice.

The company said it was “unable to create a sustainable model.”  The next closest emergency room is nearly 30 minutes away.

“Never thought this hospital would not be here,” Beth Beck, a Louisburg resident said.

Beck told CBS North Carolina that she has terminal cancer and her husband has Parkinson’s Disease. That hospital was a lifeline, one that’s now gone.

“Now you’re afraid every time something happens at home. There’s time that’s going to be between when you can get your patient or your family member to another town for help,” Beck said.

Advance Community Health, which runs Franklin Community Health Services has stepped up.

They said they see nearly 75 patients each day who used to go to Franklin Medical Center.

“We work as hard as we can to accommodate those patients,” Marilyn Dorsey, the Office Practice Manager told CBS North Carolina.

They serve more than 2,000 patients in this community; and only have one doctor and one nurse practitioner.

“We miss them a lot because a lot of our patients we would send directly over to the emergency room for IV fluids or to get a work up that couldn’t do here in the office,” Dr. Doris Batts- Murray said.

Town Councilman Boyd Sturges said he’s heard those concerns and has been working with the county, state and federal governments.

“Trying to get something that is sustainable here that’s going to help look after the needs of the community is complicated,” Sturges said.

Sturges told CBS North Carolina, he’s optimistic that at the very least the emergency room can reopen.

He’s working with several different companies and organizations. But a deal to do that is still 4 to 5 months away.

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