on October 5, 2019 by Sean Michael Milligan in Journal, Comments (0)

BREAKING: RURAL AMERICA HAS MORE PROBLEMS THAN YOU THOUGHT

One would think that all there is to talk about this week is impeachment, but as it turns out, there’s still a lot of other stuff happening in the world. One below-the-fold front page story in this week’s Washington Post tells the tale of a doctor in Van Horn, TX, a tiny little town about 120 miles east-southeast of El Paso which is home to the only hospital—and the only doctor—in three counties. The article’s nominal topic is America’s growing number of “medical deserts”—rural areas with underserved medical needs.

I say “nominal” topic because, while the message is clear, this story is the heaviest on personal narrative I’ve yet read for this journal. It focuses almost entirely on Van Horn’s single doctor, Ed Garner, and the new doctor the town has finally managed to attract, David Cummings. Personally, I felt this was a real strength. It really made me want to read the article, the same way a good novel or short story does—I wouldn’t have been surprised had I seen this narrative as a pilot for a new TV drama, rather than as a news story.

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