Last week, while I was still down with an irksome cold and chest congestion, I had this question from a reader: "Where do O'Cockers go for medical help, hospital, specialists, xrays, Rx, etc!"
We have a small clinic right here on the island, on the Back Road. Gail Covington, Nurse Practitioner, and Erin Baker, D.O., Family Practitioner, are the health care providers. We also have a dedicated and well trained staff of paramedics.
The clinic is also a dispensary for medications, but providers cannot fill prescriptions from other physicians. Pharmacies on Hatteras and in the norther Outer Banks areas will fill prescriptions and mail them to Ocracoke. Oftentimes neighbors will pick up prescriptions for family or friends when they are off-island. As always we try to plan ahead!
For X-rays, the closest facility is HealthEast Family Care on Hatteras Island.
For several years now we have had a full-service hospital in Nags Head. In earlier years the closest hospitals were in Elizabeth City and Norfolk. Our EMTs can transport patients to any of these hospitals by ambulance. For more serious emergencies helicopters are sometimes brought to the island. They carry patients either to the hospital in Greenville, NC, or to Norfolk.
Numerous specialists practice in the northern Outer Banks areas, as well as in Elizabeth City and Norfolk. Years ago, when the mailboat to Atlantic, NC was the only transportation to and from Ocracoke, islanders relied on health care providers in Washington, NC for serious conditions. However, most common ailments and injuries were treated here on the island by family, or by the local nurse, Kathleen Bragg.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012111.htm.