Adam O'Neal

A picture of downtown Belhaven.
Property Wizard / Wikipedia

Demolition has begun on the former Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven, after Superior Court Judge Gregory McGuire denied a request to prevent the destruction.

A picture of the Vidant Health clinic in Belhaven.
Courtesy of Vidant Health

Vidant Health has opened a 24-hour urgent care clinic in Belhaven. It offers minor emergency and pre-natal care, a full lab, X-rays and a general family practice.

Image of stethoscope
Dr. Farouk / Flickr Creative Commons

People who live in rural North Carolina are still more likely to suffer from serious health problems than their urban counterparts. Rural counties show higher rates of heart disease and obesity, and rural residents have a lower life expectancy.

The recent closures of rural hospitals around the state makes those residents even more vulnerable. Research shows that systemic problems like slow economic development and spotty insurance coverage also contribute to rural health disparities.

A picture of Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal
StoryofAmerica.org

The mayor of Belhaven, N.C. is walking to Washington, D.C., again, over hospital closures.

Mayor Adam O'Neal made the trek last year when Belhaven Hospital shut down because of financial problems. 

Now he says there are as many as  283 rural hospitals across the country in danger of closing by the end of this year.

"All we're doing is trying to bring awareness, national awareness to a horrific tragedy that's taking place in our country right now and that's the failure of rural hospitals."