FOLKSTON, Ga. --A mountain of debt andno cash flowadded up to the doors being closedat Charlton Memorial Hospital that has operated for four decades in Southeast Georgia.

The 25 bed hospital is mothballed, but equipment is being kept in place just in case a way is found to reopen the doors. A nearby clinic will remain open.

"Absolutely tough times, tough times for small hospitals, tough times for small communities," said H.D. Cannington who heads up the operation and who was busy on Friday helping close the hospital down.

Cannington says some staff will stay on for record keeping and lab services. Many of the hospital's 100 employees are no longer employed.

"Very tough day, don't even ask me," is how Nancy Boles summed up the day. She has worked in the hospital's lab and has 35 years on the clock helping patients.

"It is sad, but we still have hope," said Pam Shivar who will be employed for another two weeks. Her work in the x-ray department the past 12 years was her first and only job after completing school.

The hospitalhas debt aload that tops $5 million dollars and was financially struggling to meet operating expenses.