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Rural hospital owner sues City of Celina, Clay County

Cumberland River Hospital (WZTV).PNG
Cumberland River Hospital (WZTV).PNG
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When seconds count, some people in the Midstate must go an extra 17 miles to get emergency care. For this reason, a Clay County hospital owner is taking the city and county to court.

This case is significant because the plaintiff's attorney, David Weissman, along with his co-counsel, Jonathan Williams, say the residents of Clay County were denied access to essential medical care which they say may have cost lives.

Johnny Presley, owner of Cumberland River Hospital in Celina, is suing Clay County, the City of Celina and two individuals.

Johnny Presley’s attorney, David Weissman, says their actions drove a small, rural hospital out of business.

“It’s unconscionable to bypass adequate medical care to go somewhere else when that decision is driven by profit,” Weissman emphasized.

Weissman claims Clay County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) instructed personnel to not take patients to Cumberland River Hospital, which caused the hospital to lose revenue and ultimately close.

Weissman emphasizes the nearest hospital is 17 miles away.

“Often times we don’t have 17 minutes, or 30 minutes, or 15 minutes in the event of an emergency,” Weissman said.

Weissman believes in some cases this turned deadly.

FOX 17 News’ Kaitlin Miller reached out to Clay County EMS to see what they had to say about this lawsuit.

Miller said over the phone, “I have a question about a lawsuit that we’re doing, and we wanted to know if”

Clay County EMS hung up on her when she asked for a comment.

Then, FOX 17 News reached out to the Mayor of Celina, Luke Collins, about the lawsuit.

“I was very disappointed that the hospital closed and that’s the primary reason that I ran for mayor, was to try to get the hospital back open,” Mayor Collins said.

Mayor Collins says he supports the truth and wants what is best for the people of Celina and Clay County.

David Weissman says they are going to go through an extensive investigation where he and his team will be gathering information.

FOX 17 News will keep you updated on this process.

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