Dr. W. Craig Clark, who joined the Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s neurosurgery department in 2013, said a delay in receiving treatment for traumatic brain or spine injuries could be crucial. “It could mean the difference between life and death, or between a good result and a severe permanent disability,” Clark said.
Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s decision was announced at a meeting of the hospital’s medical staff Wednesday, Greenwood Commonwealth reported. Neurosurgeons operate on the brain and diagnose and treat disorders of the nervous system. When the clinic closes, there will be no neurosurgery practice left in the Delta. The closest options will be at hospitals in Oxford or Jackson, each about an hour and a half away from Greenwood. The publicly owned hospital is under pressure to reduce its losses, especially now that most of its COVID-19 federal relief money has been exhausted. Through the first nine months of the current fiscal year, the hospital is showing a $10 million loss, even after using nearly $11 million in relief funds.
One of the neurosurgery clinic’s two surgeons, Dr. Jimmy Miller, announced months ago that he would retire Aug. 31 after 16 years of practice in Greenwood. Clark, 71, said he had wanted to keep working at the clinic. In a letter distributed to the hospital’s physicians, Clark wrote that “our hospital and local economy are currently enduring great stress and economic hardship. The neurosurgery line is no exception. Hospital administration has decided that continuing to offer neurosurgical services is not sustainable in the near future.”
Clark said in the letter that because of the pending closure, surgical procedures already scheduled had to be canceled and long-term follow-up care for some patients who had already received surgery would have to be suspended.
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