EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WJBF) – Many rural hospitals are on life support. Dozens have closed in the last few years. Hundreds more are in danger of closing, but a hospital in Edgefield County is still open thanks to a special partnership.
Dr. James McGuown said, “A lot of times we have patients show up at the door here and they’re having acute strokes or heart attacks.”
Dr. McGuown is a family practice and emergency room doctor at Edgefield County Hospital. He’s among some 200 other doctors, nurses and staff that provide medical services twenty-four seven to patients who depend on this hospital, especially in an emergency.
“We have to try to get them stabilized and do what we can here and some of them we have to send to a larger hospital,” he said.
Edgefield County Hospital is a lifeline for many patients, but like most hospitals in rural America, it is struggling to survive.
Carlos Milanes said, “Many hospitals in rural areas don’t survive because they don’t replace family practice doctors that leave the community or ones that retire and when they leave that’s typically when the hospital fails.”
Failure is now less likely thanks to an affliation agreement with Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood. The agreement helps to reinforce and stabilize family practice doctors and provide specialized medical care as well.
Jim Pfeiffer, CEO of Self Regional Healthcare said, “Healthcare is delivered locally, so Edgefield is vital but we see ourselves as helping from the specialist standpoint to make sure they have access to all their different specialists.”
Self Regional Healthcare also gives Edgefield County’s hospital more purchasing power, saving the hospital money.
Some local businesses are putting up their money in support the hospital.
Richard Pendarvis, who owns a car dealership, realizes how valuable the hospital is to Edgefield County.
“For people coming into the community looking for place to start a family and raise a family, a hospital is probably number one besides school,” Pendarvis said.
That’s why he and others are planning a fundraising event to benefit the hospital foundation. For the second straight year, a Fun Shoot will be held at the Palmetto Shooting Complex this Saturday. There will be door prizes, a silent auction and one person will even win a gun.
The real winners though are the people in Edgefield County and the enhanced medical care their hospital will be able to provide.