Monday, January 24, 2011

Health Issues

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:


  1. Anonymous6:47 AM

    What a blessing that as modern medicine has improved on the "mainland" the hardy Ocracoke residents (and visitors) have better access to quality medical assistance.

    I was on the island when a medical helicopter arrived to transport one of your older residents (a Mrs. Scarborough) to the hospital in October, 2009. Unfortunately, she didn't survive. She was over a 100 years old, if my memory serves me correctly, and she had fallen in her home. I really felt the sense of great, personal loss while I was visiting the island. I believe she had celebrated her birthday only a few days or weeks earlier and Kathleen O'Neal shared that it had been quite an event.

    It was impressive to see the helicopter and the medical team jump into action. It's wonderful to have a hospital located on the Outer Banks as well as the medical clinic on Ocracoke. What peace of mind.

    Hats off to the medical folks who care for all of us who either live or visit for a short time to enjoy the awesome beauty of Ocracoke island.

    Thanks, Philip, for the great info.

  2. Julie S.11:06 AM

    Appreciate the helpful answers to my question. I'm always trying to find encouraging things to relay to my husband so I can "waylay" his concerns as I hope to retirement on the island. Hope you are feeling youself again and many thanks for the wonderful pictures!