Imagine having to go to another county when you're seriously hurt or sick. That's a fact of life in a lot of places, like Jasper County. Until today. The Coastal Carolina Medical Center's open, and not a moment too soon.
It was a busy day for the medical staff as they opened their doors to patients for the first time. In fact, they opened their doors a few minutes early because of an early-morning crash on the interstate. Without this new facility, it would have taken emergency crews a lot longer to get the patients the medical attention they needed.
"We've been transporting all of our patients to Beaufort, Hilton Head, or Savannah, even Hampton," said Steven Malphrus. "That's an almost two hour turnaround time for an ambulance."
That's because for the past four years, there hasn't been a hospital anywhere in Jasper County. Now, emergency workers say this facility will benefit residents and those traveling on I-95 in more ways than one.
"With the new hospital, now we have a better facility than we had with the old one, and we can get a much better turnaround time, which means our ambulances will be in the county available much quicker than they had been in the past," said Malphrus.
After being in the works for over 14 months, the 8,500-square-foot hospital is open for business, opening the doors for over 170 new jobs. An accomplishment the hospital staff is proud to be a part of.
"To get this far and to open up our doors, it's just a moving moment for us, to be a part of the community," said the hospital's Carrie Bennett. "Of course we don't want to encourage people to have to use our services, we're glad we're available for those types of needs."
All of the units at the hospital are ready for business, except for the obstetric unit which will open in January.