Hutcheson Medical Center Officially Closed

A blue tarp covers the Hutcheson Medical Center sign in Fort Oglethorpe Friday morning.

Hutcheson Medical Center is officially closed, as of Friday morning.

We called the hospital, and someone answered the phone, but we were told the doors are locked for all patients.

We later got a look inside the hospital that served the northwest Georgia community for decades, and saw that virtually no one was inside, other than police officers guarding the doors from outside.

There is a blue tarp covering the Hutcheson sign out front.

Within the past month - more than 700 employees have lost their jobs at Hutcheson, and the hospital has been in financial trouble for the last seven years.

Tom Brown, and his wife, say they're shocked it's come to this. "It is sad, but that's just the way everything is now. Everything's just turned upside down - so to speak," Brown said.

The couple has lived in Catoosa County for more than 35 years. Martha says she's been a patient at the hospital.

"This hospital - it just handles the people that don't have a lot of money," she said.

It's a place that, in the last year, saw more than 80- thousand patients at either its emergency room or clinics.

Now, when people, like the Browns, need to go to a hospital they'll have to drive more than 25 minutes to get to one.

"They're gonna probably die before they get there," Martha said.

That's why Martha's hoping, if anything, her plea will be heard.

"They need this hospital. We have a lot of old people in this area and they don't even have anybody to take them to the hospital in Chattanooga. They need this hospital," Martha added.

Earlier, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Paul Bonapfel ordered it to close on Friday.

We're told there are still two more hearings scheduled for next week to look at the possibility of opening again.

They are next Tuesday at 2:30 and December 11 at 4 p.m.

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