Vidant Pungo Hospital

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 downtown Belhaven.
Property Wizard / Wikipedia

Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal says the eastern North Carolina town plans to use eminent domain to buy the local hospital Vidant Health closed last year.

Mayor Adam O'Neal says the new $5.5 million dollar clinic Vidant is building in the town isn't enough.

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.