Medical Service Crisis Has Hit All Over Rural America

Medical service crisis has hit all over rural America.

One such town is Tonopah, a mining town located in Nevada with the population of approximately 2500. CNN Reporter, Simon Ostrovsky, meets with the local residents and reports, “Tonopah, Nevada, is hours away from the nearest hospital, and residents there are forced to rely on each other in times of crisis.”

Medical Service Crisis Has Hit All Over Rural America

Tonopah had access to a hospital until 2015, and after shutting down its doors; so, local residents decided to take matters into their own hands. Dawn Gudmunson, is one of the several volunteers EMTs, who act as the community’s only lifeline. Shared her experiences with Simon Ostrovsky, “It’s scary. It’s scary to live here. I’m scared for our residents. I’m scared for my family”, shared Dawn.

Medical Service Crisis Has Hit All Over Rural America

Since the closure of the only hospital of the Tonopah, the whole county has been left into the hospital desert. Hospital desert is a term used for a region, which has no hospital within the radius of 30 miles. Medical Service Crisis Has Hit All Over Rural AmericaThe entire county is approximately the size of Massachusetts and has its nearest emergency trauma care is at the distance of more than 200 miles. “if you’re looking for a trauma care, you’re looking at either Reno or Las Vegas, which is about three and a half hours by vehicle”, one of the volunteer EMTs shared. Some people are not lucky enough to make it, and they expired on the route to the hospital.

Medical Service Crisis Has Hit All Over Rural America

Dawn recalled, “My aunt had a lot of medical problems and we were not able to get her to the higher level of care quickly enough.” Dawn’s aunt passed in her ambulance. It was very hard for her because her aunt was the one who trained her to be an EMT. She further continued “we were working on her, and there was just nothing more we can do. If we’d have a hospital they’d have years of knowledge and it would have been different”

Medical Service Crisis Has Hit All Over Rural America

In situations where a patient is in critical condition, the EMTs have to take the patient to the airport and sent him/her by plane to Las Vegas. Recently they had to keep the patient on a tarmac for 2 hours until the plane arrived.

This is the increasing reality of rural America. If anyone gets sick or injured he/she has to travel miles to the nearest airport to fly hundreds of miles only to seek the medical facility.

The question is: because they are rural, should the government forget about them. Strict action should be taken before the situation gets out of hands.

Original Report:  Rural Nevada town struggles without hospital
By Simon Ostrovsky, CNN

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