Medical tragedy in Carrolton highlights urgency for medical center reopening

Push continues to open Pickens County hospital
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 8:50 PM CDT
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CARROLTON, Ala. (WBRC) - An emergency medical situation in downtown Carrolton drove home the very point town leaders have been trying to get across about the hospital that’s closed in Pickens County.

It happened around 10:45 Wednesday morning. A woman suffered a medical emergency while driving. She parked in front of city hall and collapsed.

“Just watched a lady die,” said Mayor Mickey Walker.

Carrolton Mayor Mickey Walker was so shaken by the situation he became somewhat emotional describing the scene that unfolded mere feet from the front door of city hall.

“We’re talking right in front of city hall. Everybody is coming down the street witnessing it and talking about how the hospital is right here,” said Mayor Walker.

To add to the drama, a medivac from another county literally landed in the town square to bring life-saving equipment. An ambulance was still miles away because it was on another run. Vicky McCrory feels certain the woman would have had at least a fighting chance if the medical center was open.

“Because she would have had immediate care. She would have had immediate ALS care,” said McCrory, a paramedic with Pickens County Ambulance Service.

This brings us to the very latest on the status of getting the Pickens County hospital open. Lawmakers in the Alabama House of Representatives have approved $8 million to open the medical center as a mental health facility for adolescents. The proposed funding is now in the senate waiting for approval. Assuming this happens, the next immediate goal according to town leaders is to reopen the emergency room.

What happened in the Carrolton town square was somber reminder of just what a difference a functioning medical center could have made. Emily Dahlberg says her own father performed CPR on the woman but she never made it.

“She could have had a fighting chance but by the time the helicopter got here it was too late,” said Emily Dahlberg.

Too late, two words the locals here never want to hear again.

In terms what happened to the lady who died, no official word on her cause of death.

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