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Each season, “Where It Hurts” takes you somewhere new —  to an overlooked part of the country to explore cracks in the American health system that leave people frustrated — and without the care they need. The story begins in Fort Scott, Kansas. Rural. Deeply Christian. And sicker than other parts of the state. When Mercy Hospital shut its doors, the town’s sense of identity wavered. Season One “No Mercy” is about the people who remain, surviving the best way they know how. Host and investigative journalist Sarah Jane Tribble spent more than a year revisiting southeastern Kansas, where she grew up, to document the sparking tensions, anger and fear many people felt as they struggled to come to terms with the hospital’s closure.

Chapter 1: ‘It Is What It Is’

Midwesterners aren’t known for complaining. But after Mercy Hospital Fort Scott closed, hardship trickled down to people whose lives were already hard. Pat Wheeler has emphysema. Her husband, Ralph, has end-stage kidney failure, and the couple are barely making ends meet as they raise their teenage grandson. Pat is angry with hospital executives who she said yanked a lifeline from residents. “They took more than a hospital from us,” she said.

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Pat Wheeler(Sarah Jane Tribble/KHN)

“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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