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


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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.

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“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.”

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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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