ARLINGTON, GA (WALB) - After 62 years of serving the health care needs of rural south Georgians, Calhoun Memorial Hospital is now closed.
As we told you in a breaking news alert, the Arlington hospital shut down Friday afternoon, unable to get out of debt.
It was hard to find a pair of dry eyes this evening at Calhoun Memorial Hospital in Arlington after the announcement came down Friday that the facility will close their doors for good.
"It's been here for so many years and it's just heart wrenching," said hospital pharmacist Sally Ray.
Calhoun County Hospital Authority officials say the hospital couldn't afford to stay open because of the growing cost of charitable and indigent care on top of other debt.
Just last week 29 workers were laid off to make up for spending $1.8-million in indigent care in 2011, but that wasn't enough.
Friday, the 70 remaining workers boxed up their personal belongings and said their final goodbyes to friends.
Some even compared Friday's event to a death in the family.
15-year pharmacist Sally Ray fought back tears as she expressed her feelings.
"It's truly like a death. It's like an air of just heartbreaking sadness," said Ray.
She says the loss of the hospital will be felt thorough the community, but she wants members of it to know they will always be in the staff's prayers.
"There have been many prayers that have been said for each and every one of you through the years and we'll continue to do that and thank you for letting us be a part of your lives," said Ray.
Now, longtime coworkers must figure where to go from here and pray the residents of Calhoun County can still get the medical services they need.
The hospital stopped admitting patients last week, so there were no patients left to transfer to other hospitals, Friday.
Department of Labor job counselors were at the hospital to help laid off workers explore their options.