No Mercy: After The Hospital Closes, How Do People Get Emergency Care?

Research shows that the average transport time for a rural patient was 14.2 minutes before a hospital closed; afterward, it increased by nearly 77% to 25.1 minutes. For patients over 64, the increase was steeper, nearly doubling.

For more than 30 minutes on a frigid February morning, Robert Findley lay unconscious in the back of an ambulance as paramedics hand-pumped oxygen into his lungs.

They were waiting for a helicopter to land at a helipad just across the icy parking lot next to Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, which closed in December. The night before, Findley had fallen on the slick driveway outside his home while checking the mail. He had laughed it off, ate dinner and went to bed.

In the morning, he wouldn’t wake up. Linda, his wife, called 911.

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