Breaking News
More () »

'I just wanted to hit my knees and thank God' | She had a heart attack just before the hospital closed

Wendy Hancock says if her mom's heart attack had been two days later, she might not have made it to the next closest hospital.

JAMESTOWN, Tenn — Nurse Wendy Hancock knows the signs, so when her dad called saying her mom wasn't feeling well, she was worried. 

"When he said she had chest pain and the numbness, it really kind of concerned me that she was maybe having a heart attack," Hancock said.

Her mom, Sherry Cromwell, 63, checked all the boxes: She was having a heart attack. 

"It's just intense pain in my chest, and I was sick to my stomach and just hurting all over pretty much," Cromwell said. 

She needed to get to a hospital fast.

RELATED: 'People will die' | Closing fears rise as Medicare, Tenncare pull out of Jamestown hospital

"It's very scary. You want to get somewhere as quick as possible to get some help," she said. 

Wendy put her in the car and raced to Jamestown Regional Medical Center. She made the 20 minute drive in just 17, but when she got there, her heart sank.  

"It was dark. That whole side of the hospital was dark," she said. "I was like 'Oh no, there's no one here.'"  

The lights in the troubled hospital were all out, except a glimmer of hope through the door of the ER. 

"I just literally wanted to just hit my knees and thank God," Hancock said.

Her mom was stabilized here and airlifted to Cookeville, where doctors put in a stent to relieve the 99% vein blockage. 

If the heart attack happened 48 hours later, the care that saved her mom's life would've been another 45 minutes down a winding two-lane road. 

Rennova closed the doors of the Jamestown Regional Medical Center last Thursday after the Federal Government pulled funding for Medicare and Tenncare patients. 

"I'm not sure we would've had the outcome that we are sitting here talking about today," Hancock said. "If people pull up here tonight, it's going to be completely dark."

RELATED: TN sending rapid response team to help displaced Jamestown hospital workers find new jobs

RELATED: Rennova announces layoffs at Jamestown Regional Medical Center

RELATED: Employees say Rennova made payroll at its Oneida hospital after not getting paid last week

RELATED: Owner of rural East TN hospitals facing debts, lawsuits, lack of cash

Rennova says the closure is only temporary, but it hasn't said how or when it plans to re-open, leaving Jamestown, Fentress County and areas around there without advanced medical care.

"You don't realize the impact of this hospital being here until you're faced with what we were faced with last Tuesday night," Hancock said.

Before You Leave, Check This Out