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Hospital could be part of county growth

Could a new hospital be a catalyst for growth in Lowndes County?

Only time will tell if the dreams of a small group of Lowndes countians becomes a reality, but the possibility is at the very least, interesting.

Members of the Lowndes County Improvement Association discussed the issue a few weeks ago and the points brought up in the discussions are valid.

While Montgomery, Selma and Greenville are close to portions of Lowndes County, and some areas are near Crenshaw County, which has a community hospital, Lowndes County residents must travel for emergency care and long-term treatment.

It’s a difficult task under the best conditions, let alone that many in Lowndes County and other counties in the historic Black Belt region can’t afford to make the necessary trips to visit loved ones or take them for regular treatment.

A hospital built near Hayneville could serve all of Lowndes County and be there in times of emergency. Having an emergency room could save lives and ultimately costs. Often when critical patients need care, medical helicopters, which are very expensive, are used to transport patients to waiting hospitals. It at least some of those cases, a hospital with an emergency room could stabilize them and possibly save their lives and save money as well.

Telemedicine is quite effective these days with physicians connected to hospital networks across the region and the nation. In Greenville, the Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama is working with the UAB network of hospitals and using specialists via telemedicine.  Often, physicians can use the system to diagnose patients that need immediate care, such as stroke victims. When seconds count, having the proper medications around and the ability to diagnose can save lives.

Hospitals also are a key part of the infrastructure of a community. Like good schools, access to medical care is important to companies seeking to locate in an area.

Dr. Ozelle Hubert recently spoke about the completion of a new $36 million facility in Thomasville. The hospital used a combination of private investment money from management companies and federal money designated for just such purposes.

Lowndes County officials would be wise to at least examine the possibilities.

We’re sure this isn’t the last we will hear about building a hospital in Lowndes County. The idea merits discussion.

If it does not come to fruition, nothing has changed and healthcare continues in the same way. However, a hospital could benefit the citizens of Lowndes County. It’s worth a look.