A day after Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal completed his walk to Washington D.C. in efforts to re-open the closed Vidant Pungo Hospital, people we talked with in Belhaven believe it will happen.
Gloria Rogers attended the rally and says, "We come together because we love one another to fight for this cause, for rural hospitals in this neighborhood."
Heike Winfield, who owns a gift shop in Belhaven, says she hopes O'Neal's walk will get the attention of the leaders. "I hope that all the politicians above us, above our mayor, actually sit down and say maybe we did something wrong, maybe we need a new change."
Even though Vidant expanded its family clinic hours to 24/7 and a new 12,000 square foot clinic is still planned, residents in Belhaven say there must be an emergency room.
Zachary Stevens says, "People here need it. It's an elderly town and it's more of the emergency care we need."
O'Neal met with U.S. Senator Kay Hagan on Tuesday, but has yet to meet with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
He also met with officials from Health & Human Services and tweeted this Tuesday, "Amazing meeting with Health and Human Services today, they understand our issue."
O'Neal says he'll return to Belhaven on Thursday and continue fighting to reopen the rural hospital.
The President of Community Health Hospitals for Vidant Health, Roger Robertson, says since 2011- Vidant Health incurred $5.7 million in debt from the hospital. He said just four people per day needed critical acute care in 2013, and that number fell to two per day this year.
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