I have cancer, which means living over an hour away from my nearest medical facility puts me at a huge disadvantage when it comes to the COVID-19 crisis. I am not alone in my struggle – the entire senior community or those battling other chronic illnesses while residing in rural areas are already hard-pressed to find localized medical care, a problem emphasized by the current crisis.
This lack of access to treatment and related healthcare resources is a major challenge when you or someone you love is a potentially high-risk patient if they contract coronavirus.
Patients with cancer need immediate COVID-19 testing, decreased dosages on particular treatments that risk co-infection, and to continue staying in isolation as this virus spreads. In particular, patients with chronic lung or heart issues need to be hyper-aware when going out, as they face increased risks given the nature of coronavirus.
As COVID-19 spreads, rural communities need to safeguard access to healthcare facilities in case of medical emergencies. The distance between rural residents and urban areas that host large-scale medical facilities is an obstacle.
Air medical services promise an efficient method of transportation to medical centers to rural residents. An air ambulance can quickly transport patients to a hospital that is equipped to care for them in an emergency situation, saving time and improving outcomes. For patients like me, this access could make the difference between life and death.
Often times, it feels as though the big cities are prioritized over areas like Summerton. Rural hospitals are much more vulnerable to closures. In the past few years, several hospitals in our less-populated regions have closed their doors, forcing us to travel significant distances for check-ups and basic medical procedures.
Air medical services are a necessary lifeline for rural communities throughout South Carolina like ours. As hurricane season approaches and COVID-19 ravages on, rural citizens need to know that despite the chaos and uncertainty, they will continue to have reliable access to health care facilities.
I care very much about my neighbors, and I know our leadership shares concern for them as well. Senator Lindsey Graham can get this job done. He has been a wonderful advocate for all South Carolinians, and I know he will continue to support what is best for us. We need to ensure that rural communities like ours have access to care in case something goes wrong. Luckily, Senator Graham has been a fierce advocate for rural residents - I know he’ll speak up on our behalf in the fight.
Clarendon County is and always will be my home. Living here has blessed me with an incredible and supportive community of family and friends. I want the best for every single one of them, and that means we have to have access to health care in case of emergencies. Congress must secure air medical services for rural communities.