New hospital reaches major milestone

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Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

MCDUFFIE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- "The longer it takes you to get to the hospital the less chance you have of surviving," said John Seay.

Brick by brick workers are building the new University McDuffie Hospital.

The skeleton of the building is there and soon the new hospital will be up and running. Meaning people in the area won't need to go all the way to Augusta when they have an emergency.

"If you've got a life threatening injury or illness an hour could mean life or death," said Sealy.

"It's very close people in Taliaferro County, Warren County, and Columbia County can get here very quickly if they need help as well," said Bill Doupe, University Hospital McDuffie Chairman.

Hospital officials say those lifesaving moments are exactly why it's critical for rural hospitals to keep their doors open. Many in Georgia are struggling, and McDuffie Hospital was one that almost didn't survive.

"Without the intervention of University Hospital there's a real possibility our doors would be closed now or becoming very close to be closing with all of the changes going on in health care today," said Doupe.

The new hospital will resuscitate health care in McDuffie County.

"We can bring efficient care closer to the people's homes closer to the people that need the care," said University Hospital CEO James R. Davis.

Columbia county is also vying for hospital. University Hospital CEO James Davis says those people need easily accessible health care as well.

"We heard one lady testifying during the Columbia County hearings that it took her a half hour to travel from Columbia County to University Hospital to deliver her baby," said Davis.

A new hospital will build new opportunities.

"Things that we learn when businesses are thinking about relocating is they want to be able to know that they have quality health care close by for their employees," said Doupe.

Those with University Hospital say the severe weather the past few months has slowed down the work. They're expecting to get the keys Dec. 1 and to open their doors in January.

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