Last Wednesday was a beautiful day for the Ribbon Cutting for the Joe and Peg Greenlee Rural Health Clinic. This addition will provide space for new and improved services at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. This beautiful addition is a tremendous asset for our area. A new and updated workspace will be a treat for staff to work in and all employees seemed anxious to get to work. They have been waiting to utilize personal talents with new equipment, and in a modern facility. By now, it should be known that this Rural Health Care facility is way past being referred to as a band aid station. That is my two cents on the new hospital addition itself, and the following is the reason why.
What I wanted to share with our readers and hospital staff is an ongoing story that goes back more than 15 years. As an Associate Pastor, I started visiting patients at PMH every Sunday after church. After becoming mayor, I continued the habit of “making my rounds” until visits were stopped during the first quarter of 2020. Sometimes, if there was only one or two patients, I would greet the staff at the nurses’ station, and be headed for home within 20 to 30 minutes. Other times, it would be hours, depending on what was going on. I will always remember hearing that first primal scream that echoed through the halls after a husband passed away upon arrival at the ER. I hope you can understand when I say that it was one of those days I wished I hadn’t gone, but was glad I was there. This was all pre-COVID.
Nevertheless, there have been hundreds of times I visited with patients who were from out-of-state. They were in the county visiting, sometimes camping, or in most cases vacationing at Snowshoe, when an accident or sudden health episode would require hospitalization.
Often, the EMS and first responders who provided the transport would be commended for friendly and professional care, from start to finish. Without exception, I would hear nothing but positive remarks upon arriving at the ER. Most patients would share experiences about their home hospitals. The theme was common, whether it was Atlanta, Baltimore or Charlotte. A two hour wait in the hallway or waiting area was not uncommon. When they arrived at PMH, someone was waiting there for them. Most were surprised that we had such a facility in such a rural area.
Always, patients staying overnight were surprised about the personal and continuous care. A pleasant staff member attending to every need was a pleasant surprise. This was what touched the Greenlees. They recognized something special in the care they received in Pocahontas County and wanted to do something special in return – and my goodness, did they!
So, to all the doctors, nurses and support staff at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and the Joe and Peg Greenlee Rural Health Clinic, we love you and are glad you are here. I believe the moral to the story is this: It is a lot like home and family. We are prone to fuss about those that are closest and dearest to us. Keep up the good work. You are making a difference in our world and our community.