Hospitals

‘No Mercy’ Chapter 3: Patchwork of Urgent Care Frays After a Rural Hospital Closes

Fort Scott, Kansas, went without an ER for 18 days, after the local hospital shut down. Documenting local trauma during that “dark period” helped investigative reporter Sarah Jane Tribble unravel some of the complications that come after a rural hospital closes.
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Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen.

Emergency care gets complicated after a hospital closes. On a cold February evening, when Robert Findley fell and hit his head on a patch of ice, his wife, Linda, called 911. The delays that came next exposed the frayed patchwork that sometimes stands in for rural health care.

After Mercy Hospital Fort Scott shut down, many locals had big opinions about what kind of health care the town needed.

“Words of experience is, you don’t know when that tragedy is going to happen,” Linda Findley said.

Fort Scott’s free-standing ER and the new community health center aren’t enough, she said.

“I mean, my gosh, you need to feel like you’re safe and could be taken care of where you’re at,” she said.

Click here to read the episode transcript.

Linda Findley holds a photo of her husband, Robert.

“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.

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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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