Since 2010, 53 rural hospitals have closed – many in counties with poverty rates lower than average – leaving residents stranded in times of need

It makes sense to sell this old place now, but he can’t bring himself to leave her ashes.

Barry Gibbs lives alone in a single-story home among the loblollies of Hyde County in eastern North Carolina. The army veteran collects a small disability check after he tore tendons in his shoulder during a fall at his maintenance job at the local school. He winces every time he stands up. He’s 64 years old and the closest hospital is more than an hour away, a distance he came to understand too damn well on the day she needed help.

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Read More ‘It’s worse than murder’: how rural America became a hospital desert

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