Baptist Memorial Hospital to Close

September 29, 2004 – Posted at 3:32 p.m. CDT

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY -- When you have a medical emergency, every minute counts. For residents of one Region 8 town, getting help may take a little longer.

"I'm sorry that the hospital here in Osceola is closing because I have friends in Birdsong who come to Osceola and it's hard to get to here. You have to pay someone to bring you. We don't have transportation unless we pay somebody to get up here," said Ollie Donerson as she played Bingo at the Osceola Senior Center.

Donerson and her friends realize that not every day will be fun and games. They're worried because the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Osceola is planning to close. The hospital is expected to close by the first of December and that means folks in Osceola will have to go elsewhere for medical treatment. The hospital plans to transition services to the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Blytheville, and for some, it's a trip that's too long.

Jewel Welch said it will be tough to get to medical help, "I don't have transportation, you know, so it will be hard for me."

"I don't have my own transportation so there wouldn't be any need in my saying it's going to be easy when it's going to be rough," said one Senior Citizen.

But it's not just senior citizens who are concerned. Christopher Smith is worried because he takes his toddler daughter to the hospital in Osceola.

"My daughter goes in you know when she needs to have things done. I'm really kind of sad about it because it's really a good hospital and it's going to take a little bit longer for a person that lives in the country to get to Blytheville," said Smith.

"I'm just hoping and praying that God will work it out," said Donerson.

The Baptist Memorial Hospital has been in Osceola for more than a decade. Right now it's not sure what will become of the facility after the hospital shuts down.