Plans for new hospital in Bamberg County postponed

The hospital in Bamberg County has been closed for about three months and hopes for a new hospital have been shot down.

WIS has been working to find out why the plans to build the facility fell through.

When you need medical attention, you go to the hospital, but in Bamberg County, you'll have to go elsewhere.

No one knows that better, than Denmark resident Jimmy Sanders.

"You don't have a hospital you can just go to," said Sanders. "It takes 30 to 40 minutes to get to a hospital, you be dead."

Both the hospital and urgent care centers are closed in the county forcing residents like Sanders to travel out of town.

The 62-year-old recently drove to Orangeburg for his colonoscopy treatment.

Nurse Practioner, Courtney Hutto is also feeling the strain at Bamberg Family Practice she says patient traffic is up 30 percent.

Hutto says patients who would normally be treated at an emergency room for asthma, a heart attack or serious injury come to their facility instead.

"They're having to come here," said Hutto. "We call EMS, then there's a delay in them getting to the facility."

Bamberg and Barnwell County leaders along with investment firm, Dobbs Equity Partners, were set to start construction on a 25-bed facility in, Denmark a town centrally located between both counties.

But the deal fell through last month.

Denmark Mayor Gerald Wright was hoping the hospital would bring new life to his town.

"It's a disappointment, a big disappointment," said Wright. "We'd have some jobs to keep people from leaving and we would improve the health care system; that was exciting."

"Someone needs to step up to the plate and get a hospital in Bamberg County," Sanders added.

The chairman for Bamberg County Council said the county met all the necessary requirements to close the deal by June 30th, but a spokesman for Dobbs Equity Partners told us by phone, that's not true.

The investment company plans to continue talks with Barnwell County Council on financing a regional health system.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.