Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center like many other rural hospitals have been struggling for a while now and Thursday they closed their doors.
Local officials and law enforcement agencies were there when the health care workers left the hospital for the last time to thank them for all they’ve done for their community.
Dozens of health care workers walked out of the Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in tears after working their last shift before the center closed. One of those healthcare workers was Dr. A.S. Ghiati.
“Now, people have to get an ambulance and go probably 30 to 45 minutes to an hour to get to the nearest emergency room,” Dr. Ghiati said.
The nursing home will remain open, but 60 healthcare workers will have to start clocking in at clinics and hospitals at least 20mi away. Mayor Steve Whatley says all he could do is thank the health care workers for their service. He hopes not working in Cuthbert doesn’t mean they’ll move away.
“Those 60 to my knowledge, the vast majority of them were able to seek employment in surrounding towns. Hopefully they will remain living in Cuthbert, Randolph county and commute,” Mayor Whatley said.
Whatley says it’s been a financial battle to keep the doors open for about 20 years now.
“We needed approximately 10 million plus to upgrade the facility to minimum standards; the roof, air condition, chillers, asbestos abatement,” Whatley said.
Mayor Whatley says this hospital closing impacts health care, economy and not just Cuthbert, but thousands in and around the area.
More information regarding emergency care in the area will be announced next week.