I-40 bridge closure brings challenges for families needing Memphis hospitals

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 9:04 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For Arkansas residents relying on Regional One’s Level I trauma center or treatment at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, getting to the hospital is difficult right now.

The closest option is navigating traffic on the I-55 bridge.

The good thing is Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has a plan if their patients have an emergency.

One family has a two-year-old, Georgia Grace, who is vulnerable to seizures.

“She has been a patient at Le Bonheur since she was born. She was born with some very special needs, with a brain malformation,” said Susan Enright, Georgia’s grandmother.

Georgia lives with her family in West Memphis, Arkansas. Enright says she’s susceptible to seizures and in the past, she has been rushed to the hospital.

“Le Bonheur is their life line,” she said.

With the I-40 bridge still shut down and traffic backed up for miles on the I-55 bridge, her family worries about what to do in the case of an emergency.

“My big concern is that nationally, it’s not being addressed and infrastructure has always been a big promise,” said Enright.

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital released the following statement in it’s plan for critical transports:

“Le Bonheur Children’s is closely monitoring the situation surrounding the closing of the I-40 Hernando Desoto Bridge and how it might impact children who need them. We have a plan to utilize alternate routes or helicopters for critical transports and to ensure that our staff members are able to get to our Jonesboro, Ark. Outpatient Center to see their patients…

Le Bonheur experts also see children at our outpatient center located in Jonesboro, Arkansas. There we offer a wide range of pediatric specialty services, including: allergy, cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, neurosurgery and urology.”

Georgia’s family informed say they did have to take her to the hospital Friday. Thankfully, it was not an emergency but it did take them double the time to get there.

Baptist Memorial Hospital also says it will be flying patients into Memphis or by boat if there’s inclement weather.

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