‘What most kids need’
The only hospital in rural Pickens County, Ala., closed its doors for good just two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
It was March 2020. The west Alabama county sits along the Mississippi state line, its landscape dotted with small towns. When the hospital closed in the county seat of Carrollton (pop. 1,000), Pickens County lost four physicians, 150 jobs, at least one freestanding clinic, specialty services like cardiology and neurology, and, of course, its emergency room. The nearest ER is now at least half an hour away.