The Day the Hospital Died
Nye Regional Medical Center was a hospital in the middle of the Nevada desert before it was shuttered in August 2015. The nearest major trauma centers were in Reno and Las Vegas - over 200 miles away in each direction. The hospital in the town of Tonopah served as the only ER along the 395 mile stretch of highway between the two cities. An investigation by The Dallas Morning New found the closing of the small hospitals like Tonopah’s are in part due to poor economics and heavy federal regulations, but also reckless and greedy management. Leaving towns like Tonopah without medical care and peace of mind.
The view off Interstate 95 between Las Vegas and Tonopah, Nevada.
Nye Regional Medical Center nurses Barbara Kaminski (left) and Jessica Kiburis read a report about the hospital closing in the Tonopah Times-Bonanza the day before the closing of the Nye Regional Medical Center in Tonopah, Nevada on Thursday August 20, 2015. Kaminski joined the hospital staff in January 1996, and Kiburis joined in 2008.
Administrative assistant Patty Browning listens as Wayne Allen, CEO and administrator of the Nye Regional Medical Center, speaks to hospital personnel about the closing of the hospital the day before the closing of the hospital.
A infant scale sits in a room on the same day of the closing.
Dr. Donald Hansen, of Salt Lake City, Utah, the last attending doctor, holds Arianna Kiburis, 5 months, the daughter of nurse Jessica Kiburis, on the same day of the closing.
The main sign of the Nye Regional Medical Center is lit up at dawn in Tonopah, Nevada Friday August 21, 2015. August 21 was the last day the hospital operated.
Nye Regional Medical Center nurse Barbara Kaminski (left and back) and admitting clerk Melissa Ivy hug the day before the closing.
Shaelynn Weigle (right), 4, plays with toys given to her by the medical staff as her stepfather, Tony Villareal (left), speaks to her mother, Shasta Kringlie as Kringlie waits for a diagnosis of bronchitis and laryngitis at the Nye Regional Medical Center in Tonopah Friday August 21, 2015. Kringlie was the last patient to be treated at the hospital.
Nye Regional Medical Center building services personnel Joe Hunt covers the hospital street sign on the same day as the closing.
Patty Browning (left) and building services personnel Joe Hunt struggle with a door that will not lock upon the closing.
Melody Lawrence is consoled by a Nye County Sheriff's officer outside of the Nye Regional Medical Center on the same day as the closing.
A truck drives by on Main Street in Tonopah, Nevada.
A quilt hangs in the Tonopah Senior Center.
Bernie Merino (from left), Melody Lawrence and Jim Merlino listen to Wayne Allen, CEO and administrator of the Nye Regional Medical Center, and former Tonopah city manager James Eason speak to senior citizens in a town hall setting about the closing of the hospital.
Dan Hatfield, an EMT, who lives in Pahrump, Nevada, checks an ambulance during a shift change inside the Tonopah Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service building in Tonopah, Nevada Wednesday August 31, 2016. Without a hospital in town to deliver patients, the volunteer ambulance service now either delivers patients to the Tonopah airport for a life flight, to a hospital out of town or transfer patients to another ambulance service.
Sierra Lutheran and Tonopah play a high school football game in Tonopah, Nevada Friday August 28, 2015. Tonopah beat the team from Carson City, Nevada 55-26.
Chris Terry (left) and Terence Yeager (right), who is part of the volunteer fire department, watch as Patty Browning (center), whose son, Scott May is the running back for Tonopah, cheers on her son as Sierra Lutheran and Tonopah play a high school football game in Tonopah, Nevada Friday August 28, 2015.
Lanya Ramirez and her brother, Norman Anton, both moved to Tonopah, Nevada in the early 1990s. Anton was pronounced dead at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas on November 10, 2015, after leaving Tonopah via ambulance, transferred to a life flight and then being transfer back into an ambulance before arriving at the hospital. Tonopah lost its hospital in August 2015. Ramirez was photographed with a picture of her brother standing next to his first and only automobile on Tuesday August 30, 2016 in Tonopah. The 1965 Ford Mustang was a gift to Anton from their parents. Ramirez and her husband, Jose Ramirez, went on their first date in the automobile.
The Old Tonopah Cemetery adjacent to the Clown Motel in Tonopah on Friday August 21, 2015.