Place-based stories about the often painful cracks in the American health system that leave people frustrated and without the care they need. Hosted by investigative journalist Sarah Jane Tribble, the podcast is a production of Kaiser Health News and St. Louis Public Radio.
BONUS: How's Josh
Host Sarah Jane Tribble checks in on Josh, the teenager who was coping with his aging grandparents and the emotional burden of his mother’s opioid death. Josh’s troubles began before Fort Scott’s hospital closed but worsened after. Sarah Jane gives Josh a call to find out his next steps.
BONUS: Searching For The Nuns Who Ghosted Fort Scott
Host Sarah Jane Tribble sets out on a mission to understand the Sisters of Mercy, the nuns who founded Fort Scott’s Mercy Hospital. They were once prominent leaders of the community, but by the beginning of her reporting the nuns are gone. Sarah Jane’s first glimpse into their lives takes her to an old convent.
A True Relief – Chapter 7
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. We also meet wife and mother Sherise Beckham. She helps explain how much more difficult it can be to have a baby when a town loses full-service maternity care. Then, later when she gets a job, at — where else? — the health center, Beckham gives us a front-row seat to the new vision for health care in town.
What I Was Raised And Taught To Do – Chapter 6
Trickle-down heartache reaches the next generation in a rural town with no hospital. Meet Josh. He’s a teenager in Fort Scott, Kansas, who dropped out of high school around the same time Mercy Hospital closed. He says those two things are related. The podcast also spotlights new health services now available in town. Mercy did not provide addiction or behavioral health services, but the new community health center in town does.
Poppyseed Bread, Orange Glaze and Chemo – Chapter 5
Sixty-five-year-old Karen Endicott-Coyan is living with a blood cancer and she needs frequent chemotherapy. Before Mercy Hospital closed, she got her cancer care right in town. These days getting to chemo means a long trek on rural roads and narrow highways. The stress and frustration of traveling illuminates one reason cancer death rates are higher in rural America.
Dedicated to Suffering Humanity – Chapter 4
For more than 100 years, Mercy Hospital — and the nuns who started it all — cared for local people in Fort Scott, Kansas. Town historian Fred Campbell says Mercy was part of the town’s DNA since its booming rail town days. But in recent years, Fort Scott’s economy and the hospital’s finances faltered. Locals say Mercy went “corporate.” We carry that claim to Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, the powerhouse who consolidated all the Mercy hospitals in the Midwest.
Great informative and human story podcast
Would love to know if/when the second season is starting. Such an important topic to be talking about in America right now.
Great job at capturing the inequalities experienced by rural America
You did a wonderful job at highlighting rural americas cry for access to healthcare, while showing why limitations to quality health and hospitals exist. Thank you for capturing this story, it has been very inspiring and wakening to my knowledge of healthcare in various parts of America, especially as an international resident.
Pointless and thoughtless
If you’ve lived in a rural area or know anything about healthcare then you won’t learn anything from this podcast. It does have some entertainment value and human interest filler but there is little else to praise.
I was surprised at how much this podcast, ostensibly about Fort Scott, revolves around a journalist who isn’t from the town. We are told countless times that she is from Kansas, but not from this town, about her late sister, even about how she doesn’t want to make herself part of the story by giving someone a ride. Her ego seems to have crowded out time and space for any kind of thoughtful reflection. The low point is episode 4 where a nun tells her the hospital was losing $2 million year so they didn’t have the option to continually providing medical care at a loss indefinitely. The journalist this seems confused and asks “but how does that make you feel?” (paraphrase) and you wonder if it is an interview or a therapy session. I had to listen to it twice and it was even more bizarre on the second pass. I thought the part where she ambushed an 80 year old for an interview and is politely declined—yes still put the audio in the podcast!—was going to be the low point, but I was wrong.