DOUGLAS, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Cochise Regional Hospital officially closed its doors shortly after 7 p.m. on Friday evening, after being cut off from Medicare.
For many residents of Douglas, AZ, the hospital was their most reliable source for emergency health care. Now, they'll have to drive an additional 20 miles to Copper Queen Community Hospital, located at 101 Cole Avenue in Bisbee.
CEO of CQCH Jim Dickson said they've had about 80 patients over a 4-day period since Cochise Regional Hospital's diversion last weekend.
"It's hard on everyone," Dickson said. "There's no sense of direction, it's just unbelievable."
Douglas resident Calard Hoyos is 8 weeks pregnant and was recently transferred to Bisbee for an emergency.
She said it was an emotional scare.
"They told me they didn't have the equipment to give me an ultrasound and since I'm pregnant, they asked me if I'd like to go somewhere else," Hoyos said, "And I thought 'what if I lose my baby?'"
Douglas resident Malina Salazar, said being a new parent, she is constantly scared.
"To think now...we'd have to go 30 [to] 40 minutes away to find help or anything," she said, "it's really devastating."
Longtime residents who said the hospital has been a staple in the community are now hoping for the best.
"Everyone does need help and hopefully we can get some funding from something someone somewhere out there will fund the hospital to re-open," Salazar said.
Douglas Fire Department Lieutenant Matt King said the department has increased its staffing levels to accommodate the added transport time and distance to Bisbee and to keep staff in town to respond to non-medical emergencies, such as fires.
"The Douglas Fire Department will continue to transport patients as usual," said King. "The majority of those patients will be going to Copper Queen Hospital."