A community without a hospital, North Mississippi county seeks medical help

MARKS, Miss. -- The doors to the Quitman County Hospital are now closed. It has patients and hospital employees in that rural community wondering what they're going to do for emergency medical care and jobs.

Charles Rhodes is an X-Ray Technician. He has worked at the hospital for 32 years.

"We really need it not only for the jobs but for the community. People get sick. Clarksdale and Batesville, that's a long way away," Rhodes said.

About 100 employees were notified last week that the county's only hospital would be shutting down because of money problems.

Manuel Killebrew is board president.

"It was a shock to the county because we didn't realize they were having problems at the hospital," Killebrew said.

It's why local and state leaders held an emergency meeting Friday at the courthouse in Marks.

"We are talking to a couple more hospitals, and I have had two or three calls, one from Louisiana and one from southeast Mississippi, and they have interest in coming and taking over the operation of the hospital," Killebrew said.

If and when someone else takes over the operation, some are hoping a few stop-gap measures can be put in place to care for patients.

Diane Donnelly lives in Quitman. She said there are several options that should be considered.

"Finding a place where helicopters can land and where doctors can operate in a smaller facility and inviting and accepting doctors who would work here for little money if any," Donnelly said.

As for now, many people in Quitman County say they're praying help is on the way.

"We need that help bad because no one wants this hospital to close because we need it for real. We are praying and hoping help comes in soon," Rhodes said.