This map that I created for this story illustrates the issue that the residents of this community have if something goes haywire medically. I have been here in a Large Commercial Vehicle and can vouch for its remoteness. As you can see, it’s at least 30 minutes to a hospital.
Hospital closures have become an epidemic in rural communities across the country. More than 75 rural hospitals have closed since 2010 and the most recent projections from the National Rural Health Association indicate that 673 additional facilities are vulnerable to closure. But when one hospital closes its doors, the ripple effects are felt throughout the entire community. Nowhere is it more apparent what happens to a poor community when it loses its hospital than in the town of Brownsville, Tennessee, which now relies on ambulances to provide emergency care since Haywood Park Community Hospital closed three years ago.