Hospitals

‘No Mercy’ Chapter 2: Unimaginable, After a Century, That Their Hospital Would Close

After Mercy Hospital Fort Scott shut its doors, investigative reporter Sarah Jane Tribble traveled to Kansas and spent time with former hospital president Reta Baker and City Manager Dave Martin — to understand what their town lost.
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Closing a hospital hurts. In Fort Scott, Kansas, no one was a bigger symbol for that loss — or bigger target for the town’s anger — than hospital president Reta Baker. Baker was at the helm when the hospital doors closed.

“I don’t even like going out in the community anymore, because I get confronted all the time,” Baker said. “Someone confronted me at Walmart. You know — ‘How could you let this happen?’”

The closure put Baker at bitter odds with City Manager Dave Martin, who some in town call “the Little Trump” of Fort Scott. Martin said his town wasn’t given the chance to keep the hospital open.

Click here to read the episode transcript.

“Where It Hurts” is a podcast collaboration between KHN and St. Louis Public Radio. Season One extends the storytelling from Sarah Jane Tribble’s award-winning series, “No Mercy.”

Subscribe to Where It Hurts on iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify or Pocket Casts.

And to hear all KHN podcasts, click here.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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