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.
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.
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.
Listen to “Where It Hurts,” each episode debuting on Tuesdays, from Sept. 29 through Nov. 10. When Mercy Hospital Fort Scott shut its doors, locals lost care. Health workers lost jobs. The hole left behind is bigger than a hospital. Season One is “No Mercy.”
It’s been about a year since the hospital in Fort Scott, Kan., closed. The lessons for this community about meeting its residents’ health needs could provide insights for the rest of the country.
The loss of the longtime hospital in Fort Scott, Kan., forces trauma patients to deal with changing services and expectations.
As the rural town of Fort Scott, Kan., grapples with the closure of its hospital, cancer patients face new challenges as they try to continue their treatments in different locations.
Deep questions underlie what is happening in Fort Scott, Kan.: Do small communities like this one need a traditional hospital at all? And, if not, what health care do they need?