Grappling with stagnant pay and a lack of personal protective equipment, firefighters are even more frustrated to find they are lower down the vaccine priority list than health care workers despite serving on the front lines of the medical system.
Legislatures in conservative-leaning states across the country are pushing bills that would restrict abortion and, with a conservative Supreme Court in place, could erode abortion protections under Roe v. Wade.
Charlie Kjelshus needed neonatal intensive care for the first seven days of her life. The episode generated huge bills, and left her parents in a tangle of red tape that involved two insurers, two hospitals and two states.
A Kansas woman thought she’d find help at her local emergency room. What she found instead was a packed hospital and an ambulance ride to someplace else.
Critically ill rural patients are often sent to city hospitals for high-level treatment, and as their numbers grow, some urban hospitals are buckling under the added strain. Meanwhile, mask-wearing and other pandemic prevention measures remain spotty in rural counties.
In Fort Scott, Kansas, the Community Health Center’s big green-and-white sign replaced Mercy Hospital’s name on the front of the town’s massive medical building. In the final chapter of Season One: “No Mercy,” we have an appointment to see what’s inside.
Having a child with a food allergy is terrifying for any parent, but for low-income families such allergies can be especially deadly. Food assistance programs and food pantries rarely take allergies into account. And access to specialists, support groups and lifesaving epinephrine can be hard to attain. This especially hurts low-income Black children, who have higher incidences of allergies to corn, wheat and soy than white kids.
Meet Josh. He’s a teenager in Fort Scott, Kansas, who dropped out of high school around the same time the town’s hospital closed. He says those two things are related.
The hunt for good cancer treatment often means miles on the road, time spent waiting and exhaustion from treatment and transit. “The further you have to travel to get care, the less likely that you are going to take that effort to do that,” said Boban Mathew, an oncologist in southeastern Kansas.
Mercy Hospital and the people of Fort Scott, Kansas, have a long, tangled history. To understand what the town lost when the hospital shut its doors, we rewind the story to 1886.