Archived Story

Heartbroken over hospital

Published 5:39pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013

To the Editor:

The closing of Vidant Pungo Hospital (formerly Pungo District Hospital) is a tragedy for Belhaven, surrounding areas and for Hyde County; one that is experienced across this country in small towns, frequently. Health care and its delivery have been changing long before managed health care and the Obamacare were common words. 

There are many wonderful employees at PDH.  I fear for them. In the next few months, about 100 employees will be searching for jobs, finding employers only want part-time employees, avoiding the cost of benefits, retirement and more. Most will pay little above minimum wage. Travel will be needed.       

I hurt for the staff of PDH, for all the employees and for Belhaven. 

When “rumors” circulated about closure, a town employee stated that town officials had had no communication with Vidant. Why didn’t you make conversation, initiate conversation to become informed of plans/options for future health care? You should have been involved from the first rumor. Why not be reassuring rather than negative? Why were you not at PDH and Greenville speaking to Vidant? Why didn’t you speak with local physicians for input? Did you not see the long-range effect on Belhaven, not only the lack of revenue for the town, but for grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gift shops, rest homes, inns, real estate, small-business owners, churches?  Why the threats and rally when all is said and done?

We are promised a new facility, not a hospital; it is suggested that it will be built “in or around the Belhaven area.” It may not be the answer, and it may not be what we need. With our aging population, we truly need a facility that offers more than basic 24-hour care. We need help.    

Belhaven’s largest employers will soon be Food Lion and the Town of Belhaven. Is that enough? Belhaven needs to join together and put bashing, negative comments and threats aside. We need to support this new health-care opportunity, or, as a town, see what we can do to bring back to us what we do need. We need to seize control of our dying town, putting pride and enthusiasm back. With strong, positive and energetic leadership, we can make a difference in the outcome of this situation. Our town leaders need to go out among the people and sit with them — talk to them and take to heart what they have to say. Our council needs to be visible, accessible and vocal — and not just at town meetings.    

My heart is broken over PDH. This should be a wake-up call.  When Vidant came into our area, I’m sure it thought it could make a difference; it also knew the age, condition and location of PDH. It knew our fiscal problems. Vidant made a promise to Belhaven citizens. We need to know what we can expect. 

Bea Lupton Dillon

Belhaven

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