Eufaula's Only Hospital Closes
EUFAULA, Oklahoma - In the wake of a statewide healthcare budget crisis, another hospital closes its doors.
The shutdown of Eufaula's only hospital will affect those who need emergency care.
These signs along Highway 69 in Eufaula no longer point to the Epic Medical Center Hospital.
On Tuesday morning, the hospital turned into an urgent care facility.
"I'm still in shock," Dr. Ed Fowler said.
The urgent care, offering X-rays, lab testing, and other basic services, will be open every day, but only from 7 until 7.
That means the town no longer has a medical facility open 24 hours a day.
"I just kinda went 'holy cow,'” Farrow said. “You know, what's it gonna do to the town?"
Farrow has been a doctor in Eufaula for 35 years.
He says now when he needs to send his patients to a hospital, or when there's a major emergency in the middle of the night, there won't be as many options for quick care.
"Call the ambulance and pray,” he said.
Without Epic Medical, the closest hospitals are in Muskogee and McAlester. Both are about 30 miles away.
“You know, I start having chest pain, and you know, I can't get the prompt treatment,” Farrow said. “We do live in a rural area. Take two aspirin, and hit the road, I guess."
Farrow says it's a scary situation.
He's sad to see the hospital go. He also says he's not really surprised by the decision.
"I got kind of a funny feeling it probably won't be the last rural hospital to close in Oklahoma,” he said.
The people we talked to in Eufaula say they still have a lot of questions.
The hospital staff won't comment on why the change was made.
They say, right now, they're still trying to figure everything out.