NewsLocal News


Adel residents frustrated by lack of emergency room in new, $52 million hospital

Posted at 5:42 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 17:42:23-05

ADEL, Ga. (WTXL) — The Adel community is calling for change and hoping to see an emergency room built soon.

It's a concern across the country right now, including the Big Bend and South Georgia.

Nearly 60 million people in the US depend on rural hospitals. Each year, the number of those hospital closings increases.

Becker's Hospital Review reports that 18 have closed in the last year. Two of those in Florida, another seven in Georgia.

While some have closed completely, others have shutdown emergency rooms. Leaving families, in some cases, with up to a 30 minute drive to the closest ER.

Cook County's new, $52 million hospital opened in Adel in October, but it's missing something: An emergency room.

Some residents are frustrated because if they have a medical emergency they have to travel to another county. Some have to traveled up to 20 miles.

June Carter has lived in Adel most of her life. Knowing that her hometown does not have an emergency room is something that doesn't sit easy with her.

"I would like to have one," Carter said. "Sometimes we fall and get a cut or break something."

Almost one year ago, she had a heart issue that left her worried about where she will receive proper treatment.

"Just last summer I had some problems," said Carter. "I had 'Afib' and I had to go to Valdosta on Saturday night because we didn't have one here."

Health officials in Adel said that the town's only emergency room shut down in 2017 for financial reasons.

Chris Dorman is president and CEO of Southwell, the non-profit that runs the new hospital in Adel. Dorman told the AP that the emergency room was a major financial drain on the old hospital, but treated few true medical emergencies.

According to Dorman, Cook Medical spent millions of dollars on doctors and services to run the ER 24-hours a day, and many patients couldn't pay.

Since then, Justin Beck, Southwell's Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, has been determined to bring one back.

"The goal was to always to bring back an ER but to do it in a way that made sense to the community," said Beck. "And that was to make an ER that people choose to come to. Part of that was with a new facility."

The building is one step closer to providing people in Adel with everything they need in an emergency situation.

"With an emergency, it is about time," Beck said. "We want to be able to have access to the care that you need, when you need it. So having an ER is important. "

Beck said the hospital received approval to build an emergency room in January, but doesn't timeline as of now when it will be finished.