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Ongoing coverage of South Carolina's recovery from the flooding of 2015.What had been Lindsay Langdale's Columbia home October 3, 2015 was a flooded ruin the next day.This coverage is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In October of 2015, South Carolina received rainfall in unprecedented amounts over just a few days time. By the time the rain began to slacken, the National Weather Service reported that the event had dumped more than two feet of water on the state. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the subsequent flooding was the worst in 75 years.

New Temporary Hospital To Be Built In Williamsburg

A model of what the temporary hospital in Kingstree, South Carolina will look like.
Courtesy of Williamsburg Regional Hospital

Williamsburg County is getting a temporary hospital. The modular building is scheduled to be completed and ready to serve patients by the end of September. The Williamsburg Regional Hospital closed its doors six months ago, after flooding damaged more than half the building.

Ever since the closure, hospital CEO Sharon Poston has been working to get a temporary hospital up and running.

“To be able to provide direly needed medical services to our community is everything for us.  The absence of full service medical attention has been extremely detrimental,” she said.

At the end of April, Poston was able to open a temporary emergency room with assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It is made up of three connected trailers with medical equipment to treat urgent health needs like heart attacks and strokes.

But without a fully operational inpatient hospital, the hospital’s chief doctor Troy Gamble said patients are transported to the nearby facilities. In an April interview he said moving sick patients can be risky.

“I’ve flown in helicopters with patients and worried sick that I was missing something because I couldn't hear the blood pressure, because I couldn’t hear the heartbeat,” he said. 

FEMA approved the building of the temporary hospital in early May. When completed, it will be able to accommodate 22 patients.  

According to Williamsburg Regional CEO Hospital Sharon Poston, FEMA has agreed to cover 75 percent of the cost to build the temporary hospital. She’s not yet sure the total price tag.

Poston says she wants to repair the current red brick building or construct a new permanent hospital, but the status of that project is still unknown.

“I believe the health of our community has diminished somewhat during this lag time,” Poston said.

Williamsburg Regional Hospital is the only facility in the county of more than one thousand square miles and about 33,000 people.