• Have Cancer, Must Travel: Patients Left In Lurch After Town's Hospital Closes

    Asked by WNMyeloma on Monday, July 1, 2019

    Have Cancer, Must Travel: Patients Left In Lurch After Town's Hospital Closes

    Have any of you had your local hospital to close up causing you to have to drive miles away for ER or anything you used the local hospital for? It's happening all across the US.

    When the cancer clinic at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott closed in January, Karen Endicott-Coyan and other cancer patients had to continue their treatments out of town.
    Read the article about this town in Kansas losing their hospital >> https://www.keranews.org/post/have-cancer-must-travel-patients-left-lurch-after-towns-hospital-closes

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Loss of a local hospital always has a negative impact. However, the upside here is that travel - despite the hassle that it is - to a larger regional center generally means better, more state of the art treatment.

      I was misdiagnosed by both the local oncologist and pathologist. I had a type of lymphoma which they had never seen. Doctor wanted to wait and we ran for my life - to Fred Hutchinson/SCCA in Seattle. There, I was properly diagnosed and treated.

      11 years later, after two relapses and two additional cancers, a stem cell transplant as well as an estimated 99.5% chance of succumbing to all of this, I am still here, and delighted to be anywhere. DW and I have made the 80 mile round trip (one hour each way) now for 11 years. Probably 300-400 round trips.

      We do what we have to in this cancer realm.

      4 months ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I'm sure that would hit smaller and rural communities harder than cities. The city I live in has 3 major hospital groups with probably at least 30 hospitals all together. If mine closed or if I had to change due to insurance issues, there are others to choose from. I know not everyone is going to be that fortunate. And I feel for them. I know lots of smaller regional hospital just can't make it anymore.

      4 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      We have small rural hospitals dropping like flys around here.

      4 months ago
    • Molly72's Avatar

      Here in rural America, we have a smallish local hospital close by. It is excellent, caring and professional and by far the best hospital I have ever been in. But, it does not handle major, serious & complicated issues, for those you must go to a major city about 50 miles away. One is affiliated with a major university, and is a teaching hospital. It has a reputation that I would rather not put down in print. The other choice is much more humane, but too big, however, your chances of leaving alive are pretty good!

      Those big city hospitals can't compare in many ways to the smaller ones. But to get more specialized care, one must travel and become just a number on an assembly line. But there is no other choice.

      4 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      Big hospital systems are buying our little hospitals. Our hospital was bought out by Northwestern Systems and lots of changes have been made to cut costs. Many people have lost their jobs and the ones still there always feel like they are in jeopardy. They had the reputation of being a friendly, caring place and it seems to have changed for the worse.

      4 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      I live in a city with too many hospitals to count---but only one that's a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is where I go. It matters with diagnosing.

      Greg, how far are you from Nashville?

      4 months ago
    • KB2013's Avatar

      The closest local hospital here is 30 miles away. They are operating their ER but if you need to be admitted, you get shipped out to nearest hospital another 30 miles away. This is hitting all rural hospitals and it’s not a good thing.

      3 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      @BarbarainBham, sorry I just saw your question to me. We are about 125 miles from Nashville. It's 2.5 hours away or so, depending on how brave I feel in dodging the troopers, and if we stop at Cracker Barrel (and we always do). I can't pass it up.

      3 months ago
    • andreacha's Avatar

      Our rural hospital closed about 5 years ago. It was not much of a loss as they were always short staffed, unclean and about 20 years overdue for a renovation. I chose to be taken to the next town which is a 52 bed hospital - part of a larger well known hospital in Atlanta. That particular hospital worked on a long lease of the closed hospital's ER. They spent several million and we now at least have a great ER in our community.

      3 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Greg, just consider Cracker Barrel part of your Special Nutrition for cancer, so you won't feel guilty. I love them, too! Yay, Cracker Barrel!

      3 months ago
    • Kp2018's Avatar

      Our local hospital, in a "rural" area, closed because of bankruptcy, resulting in part, from some unwise decisions by upper management and board. It was eventually purchased by a "health care corporation" (non profit) which owns hospitals throughout the state.

      Our local hospital now offers an ER, an outpatient surgery center, and basic diagnostic imaging and lab services, as well as a handful of primary care physicians. For inpatient services ,
      specialist appointments and more complex diagnostic services, one has to travel about an hour to a larger hospital in the same system.

      While I am no fan of health care cartels, I must concede that this arrangement has been a mixed blessing for cancer patients. The health care corporation has partnered with an NCI designated cancer center, providing top notch cancer treatment services to patients in the area.

      Before this partnership, patients would have had to travel 5 or more hours to access state of the art cancer care from the NCI designated center. There still is travel involved for local cancer patients - about an hour's drive to the larger hospital in the area, but I feel fortunate to have this relatively easy access to high quality cancer diagnosis and treatment.

      3 months ago

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