Years later, Franklin County still waiting for an emergency room

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When will Franklin County’s emergency room reopen?

It’s a question many have been asking since the county’s only hospital and emergency room closed two and a half years ago.

Jane Riggs and her husband have had a long, happy marriage. RIggs is quick to credit Franklin Medical Center for playing a part in that.

“He wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for that,” Riggs said. They live just across the road from the former hospital.

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“He had a pulmonary embolism that was so massive that he coded here at the house. Breathing, everything stopped, and I was able to revive him enough to get him across to the hospital,” she said.

If Riggs’ husband had suffered a similar medical emergency now, he’d have to travel out of the county to get to an emergency room.

That’s what Helen Hicks had to do. The former OR nurse said it can make a difference between life and death.

“If you can stabilize people, then it’s not so bad to transfer them,” Hicks said.

Franklin Medical Center has a new name, Maria Parham Franklin. It’ll be an affiliate of Maria Parham Health in Henderson, which is a part of Duke Lifepoint. It’ll have an ER, psych unit, and bed.

Louisburg town councilman Boyd Sturges said the building, which dates back to the 1950s, has had more problems than expected. Duke Lifepoint said they’re working on asbestos abatement.

In response to the question about the community’s frustration, Sturges said “everybody wants it now — certainly I do, too — but I think it’s a realization and a maturity of everyone that knows that we need it to be done right.”

Sturges said the ER should reopen by September. The psych unit and beds will follow a month later. 

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