News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, July 2, 2012
BAMBERG, S.C. -- Health care in Bamberg County just got a lot harder to come by.
The hospital was going broke, so it partnered with Barnwell County to try and get a private firm to build a new one between the two counties. In the meantime, Bamberg's hospital was downgraded to an emergency-only facility and was downgraded again to an urgent care facility. Now, the urgent care facility is closed.
"We actually have nothing to sustain us medically to take care of us at this point in time," said Johnnie Rosa, who has a rare heart condition.
Bamberg and Barnwell counties were working with Dobbs Equity. Under a proposed agreement, the company would keep urgent care facilities open in both counties until it built a replacement hospital. The deadline to sign the deal was June 30, and no deal was signed.
"Both counties were ready and stood ready to close the transaction," said Bamberg County Councilman Chris Wilson.
Now, residents like Rosa don't know what to do.
"We are left actually holding the bag not knowing what our medical service is going to be in the future at all," she said.
The council, blindsided by Dobbs Equity not signing the agreement, didn't have many answers. Council members say Dobbs Equity never informed them about any reluctance to sign a contract. They also maintain the firm still hasn't returned any phone calls.
"We're doing the best that we can figure out to do under the circumstances," Wilson said.