Martin General Hospital ICU closed starting Monday due to staffing shortages

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 8:10 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2022 at 8:16 PM EDT
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MARTIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - One hospital here in the East is closing its ICU unit starting Monday due to staffing shortages.

The Williamston hospital’s staff said staffing difficulties have forced them to close their ICU.

The medical-surgical and emergency departments will still be open and functional.

According to the hospital, it is in close contact with ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville, in case patients need to be taken there.

It’s about a 35-minute drive between the Martin General Hospital and ECU Health Medical Center.

Martin General Hospital said in a statement about the closure:

With the suspension of the ICU, Martin County manager James Bennett fears county residents may not be able to prioritize their health due to the distance.

“For some of the folks, it’s just a drive because they have their own transportation,” Bennett said. “For others, this could mean that they may have to go without care for a period of time. And that is not something that rests well with Martin County commissioners nor with the citizens of Martin County as well.”

One Williamston resident is optimistic about the situation, hoping it will raise awareness about the challenges surrounding staffing shortages, and will encourage medical professionals to work in Martin County.

“Maybe this will bring us more nurses and staff,” Kathy Lewis said. “Maybe just knowing that they closed a unit, they will get more staffing.”

The hospital says it has increased pay for the nurses and is offering sign-on bonuses in an attempt to grow its staff.

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