Tagged Kansas

‘No Mercy’ Chapter 4: So, 2 Nuns Step Off a Train in Kansas … A Hospital’s Origin Story


Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen.


Ever since Mercy Hospital went “corporate,” things just haven’t been the same — that’s what lots of locals in Fort Scott, Kansas, said when the Mercy health system shuttered the only hospital in town.

It’s been years since Catholic nuns led Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, but town historian Fred Campbell is wistful for his boyhood in the 1940s when sisters in habits walked the hallways.

“Well, I had never, ever been in a hospital. And here came these ladies in flowing robes and white bands around their faces. And I was scared to death. But it wasn’t long ’til I found that, first thing I know, they had some iced Coca-Cola. I still remember them putting their hand on my head to see if I had a fever.”

For more than 100 years, Mercy Hospital — and the nuns who started it all — cared for local people. But in recent years, Fort Scott’s economy and the hospital’s finances faltered. Campbell hoped both could survive.

“Mercy Corporation, can you stay with us longer?” he wondered.

In Chapter 4 of Season One: No Mercy, podcast host Sarah Jane Tribble carries that question to Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, the powerhouse who consolidated all the Mercy hospitals in the Midwest.

Click here to read the episode transcript.

Fred Campbell(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.”

Subscribe to Where It Hurts on iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify or Pocket Casts.

And to hear all KHN podcasts, click here.

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Multimedia Public Health States

‘No Mercy’ Chapter 3: Patchwork of Urgent Care Frays After a Rural Hospital Closes


Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen.


Emergency care gets complicated after a hospital closes. On a cold February evening, when Robert Findley fell and hit his head on a patch of ice, his wife, Linda, called 911. The delays that came next exposed the frayed patchwork that sometimes stands in for rural health care.

After Mercy Hospital Fort Scott shut down, many locals had big opinions about what kind of health care the town needed.

“Words of experience is, you don’t know when that tragedy is going to happen,” Linda Findley said.

Fort Scott’s free-standing ER and the new community health center aren’t enough, she said.

“I mean, my gosh, you need to feel like you’re safe and could be taken care of where you’re at,” she said.

Click here to read the episode transcript.

Linda Findley holds a photo of her husband, Robert.(Christopher Smith for 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.”

Subscribe to Where It Hurts on iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify or Pocket Casts.

And to hear all KHN podcasts, click here.

Related Topics

Multimedia Public Health States