On Sept. 16 we learned from WNCT reporter Josh Birch that Vidant Health and its LLC have changed the locks to they hospital they closed down in Belhaven, NC hoping that no more images reach the public. At issue are claims that the hospital smells of mold and is falling apart from the inside — not accurate, but nonetheless convincing for those who wish to prevent the hospital from reopening — and, concerns that medical equipment estimated at $5 million has been removed.
We decided to share images we shot inside the hospital on Sept. 11, 2014 at the request of Birch. Vidant Health and its local collaborators were reportedly enraged by the images shot inside the hospital that were included in this report by WITN's Brendan King. The aim of Vidant Health's press release, issued by way of Pantego Creek LLC in the form of a letter to its members, was to place blame on hospital advocates for the hospital having closed, and to put pressure on those advocates to abandon legal claims for damages. But images of the closed hospital, which show it to be in good condition, and missing a lot of expensive equipment, appear to have partially upstaged them in King's report.
Story of America is producing a feature film about this controversy, and not all of what we shoot is intended for immediate public release. However, in this case, Vidant Health and Pantego Creek, LLC have decided to change the locks and prevent more images of their handiwork from escaping. The public deserves to know the condition of the hospital in Belhaven. That is why have released these videos, and will continue to release more as long as the property remains off limits to the public.
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