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How a Hospital Chain Used a Poor Neighborhood to Turn Huge Profits

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RICHMOND, Va. — In late July, Norman Otey was rushed by ambulance to Richmond Community Hospital. The 63-year-old was doubled over in pain and babbling incoherently. Blood tests suggested septic shock, a grave emergency that required the resources and expertise of an intensive care unit.But Richmond Community, a struggling hospital in a predominantly Black neighborhood, had closed its I.C.U. in 2017.It took several hours for Mr. Otey to be transported to another hospital, according to his sister, Linda Jones-Smith. He deteriorated on the way there, and later died of sepsis. Two people who cared for Mr. Otey said the delay had most likely contributed to his death.“He should have been able to go to the hospital and get the treatment he needed, …

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