“Super Emergency Room” On the Horizon in West Memphis?

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WEST MEMPHIS, AR  (Local Memphis) – It looks like help may be on the way for medical emergencies in West Memphis, Arkansas where the hospital closed last month.

Just so there is no doubt the emergency room at Crittenden Memorial is closed, the doors are now blocked off with a big-x of yellow tape that marked “radiation area.”

It has been less than a month since the emergency room closed at Crittenden Memorial Hospital in West Memphis and the community is already feeling strain of a shortage of nearby medical care.

Ambulances now have to take patients to hospitals in Memphis or Forrest City, Arkansas.

“We used to have a pretty quick turnaround time going here in West Memphis, but now our transport times are a lot further and wait times are sometimes a little bit longer at other hospitals than they are here,” owner of Crittenden EMC Hudson Hallum said.

Critteden Memorial Hospital could not be more closed and is reportedly preparing to file bankruptcy.

But even as yellow radiation warning tape blocks the ambulance entrance, city leaders in West Memphis said other area hospitals are already scouting for land to build a stand alone “Super Emergency Room.”

“Super emergency room that may have a couple of observation beds, x-ray services, a lab, and the essentials you need to run emergency services,” local radiologist Dr. Scott Ferguson said.

Ferguson said in the meantime, he is hopeful a bankruptcy judge would allow doctors to reopen the current emergency room.

“We hope that we can take the existing emergency room and reestablish services quickly while somebody builds a new facility that’s more appropriate for the size town that we are and will take care of all our needs,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson believes with the effort already underway, this emergency room could be temporarily reopened under new management by the end of the year.

City leaders said Methodist Health Care and St. Francis Hospital are already sniffing out sites in the area where one of them, probably not both, would build a new facility.

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