The absence of critical care

Published 6:27 pm Friday, May 20, 2016

To the Editor,

I am not writing this to create more dissent concerning the possible reopening of Pungo District Hospital, but I have felt strongly for several weeks that I needed to tell my story. I want to share with you the experience I had on Feb. 22, 2012. At this time, my home was on West Main Street, Belhaven. After dinner, I was reading the Bible when I realized something was wrong. By that time, I could not talk. I called a friend for help who had caller ID. Realizing I was in trouble, she called 911.

When help arrived, I was unconscious and unresponsive. I was taken to Pungo District Hospital emergency room where a doctor on duty began emergency treatment for stroke, to stabilize me for transport to a more advanced facility.

The doctor was anxious to get me moved, but that is when an unbelievable started playing out. Normally, an East Care helicopter would have flown to transport me elsewhere, but it was too windy to fly. The question arose of whether to send me to Vidant Beaufort Hospital or Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. Neither hospital would admit me due to a flu epidemic. My doctor called Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, who came by ambulance. We arrived at Wake Med at 7:30 the next morning, where I would be for the next 10 days.

I shudder to the think what would have happened to me the night of my stroke if Pungo District Hospital had not been there. My doctor later told a family member he did not think I would survive the trip to Raleigh. I know I would have died without the emergency room care given to me that night. They were able to keep me alive and stabilize me so that my body could withstand the long trip to Raleigh. I will be eternally grateful to the staff at Pungo District Hospital for being there in my time of need. My prayer is that no one dies because of the closing of the hospital and the absence of that critical care in the first few minutes and hours of a stroke or heart attack.


Edna Cordon
River Trace Nursing Home, Washington