Bowie Memorial: The Next Step - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Bowie Memorial: The Next Step

It was an emotional scene, resembling more of a memorial than a board meeting, at Bowie Memorial Hospital this evening.

Former C.E.O. of B.M.H Lynn Heller was in tears earlier today as he said goodbye to the hospital he's been a part of for more than thirty years. 

Board members were trying to keep it light, joking that they were in the "anger stage" of the five stages of grief.   

Doctors and nurses gathered around the round table, as what everyone knew for sometime was made official: as of next Monday, Bowie Memorial will be no more.

"It's very sad anytime you have a city this size that loses its hospital," Mayor Larry Slack said. "My initial reaction is what will we do to provide our citizens healthcare?"

Fifty three percent of voters said "no" to creating a new hospital tax district for Bowie last Tuesday, effectively killing the medical center. The vote surprised many hospital officials.

C.E.O of the Bowie Memorial Hospital Ernie Parisi declined to talk to us on camera, but he did wish the citizens of Bowie good luck. 
He did question, though, that if next Tuesday (a day after doors close for good), if someone showed up needing medical attention, if they would just die on the doorstep. 

Three patients are still at B.M.H, but are set to be out the door by Wednesday. 

The city does provide an ambulance service, but officials are meeting tomorrow to decide where the patients will be sent from now on.

As for the employees, all of them will be unemployed on one week. 

Bowie's mayor thinks that this fact, plus no hospital in Bowie, could cause people to leave.

"All we can do at this point is continue to move forward, and see in the coming weeks and months how we handle this situation," Slack said.

The B.M.H Board of Directors also decided to put the two buildings downtown and Rick's pharmacy up for sale.

All hospital operations, except for the emergency room, will shut down on Friday. The E.R. will close on Monday morning, and hospital doors will lock for the final time on November 16th at 7 a.m.  

Opponents of the tax want another medical center to take B.M.H's place in the future. 

Slack doesn't see another hospital coming to Bowie anytime soon.

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6
 

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