UPDATE: Nacogdoches Medical Center announced its intentions to build free standing ER and Imaging Center in Shelby County, Texas, that will further the hospital's mission to provide high-quality care to the East Texas community. The new construction will be located at the intersection of Highway 96 and Loop 500. The project includes the building of a free standing emergency room and diagnostic imaging center which will function as an off-campus department of Nacogdoches Medical Center. "In light of the recent closure of Shelby Regional Medical Center, we are excited that Nacogdoches Medical Center has stepped up to address the medical needs of the citizens of Center and Shelby County," said David Chadwick, city Mayor of Center. The project is still in the planning stages, but NMC hopes to open the doors in mid-2014. More details as they become available.
CENTER/SHELBY COUNTY (KYTX) - The sign on the front lawn of what was once Shelby Regional Medical Center has been removed, but people who worked at this hospital say that, four to five times a day, people stop here looking for emergency medical services.
Sharon Nelson is a nurse practitioner. Her office is adjacent to Shelby Regional Medical Center -- the hospital that her father, Dr. Joe Hooker, and four other businessmen in Center opened in 1967 -- before it was sold to its current owner.
"All the ladies in town who were pregnant were taking bets with each other about who was going to have the first baby in the new hospital," Nelson said. "It was a big deal in town."
Nelson said Shelby Regional feels like her hospital -- but its real owner is 61-year-old Dr. Tariq Mahmood, of Cedar Hill. Mahmood has been indicted on federal medicare/medicaid fraud charges.
Following those charges and dealing with several debts and delinquent property taxes -- Mahmood closed Shelby Regional Medical Center at noon Thursday.
Shelby county residents like elzie raymond and his grandsons now must travel for emergency medical services.
"It hurts everybody. It concerns everybody in Shelby County," Raymond said.
Thursday night -- Ace EMS was treating a woman who'd jumped from a moving vehicle onto the pavement on U.S. Highway 96 North in Center. What would have been a two-minute ride the hospital in Center -- became much longer -- at a crucial, live-saving time.
Police say the EMS techs performed CPR on her the whole 20-to-30-minute drive to Carthage, and today, she's still recovering.
"You can lose a loved one in that length of time," Raymond said.
Nelson said she's working with a nationally known health care agency about reopening the hospital -- but she says other buyers are nervous about the hospital's debts and back taxes.
"It's closed now, but we very much hope it will be reopened soon," Nelson said.
We will keep you updated on the developments in Shelby County, as people try to find an alternative for emergency medical services.