You don't have to live in a big city to get big city health care. The folks in and around Mitchell should feel confident that if anything traumatic happens to them, they will be taken care of in the Avera Queen of Peace Trauma Center. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on how they have the paper work and the patients to prove it.
When Elaine Pooley from Mitchell gets into her pick-up truck now days, she says the first thing she will always do is buckle up. In April of 2010 she was running an errand in town when she was T-boned by another car on her passenger side. The force rolled her Land Rover. We have a picture from that day from the Mitchell Daily Republic.
Elaine says, "I wasn't wearing my seatbelt. I advise everyone to wear one. I flew in to the backseat. I lay on the floor. The car was on its side. A nice lady came out from her house because she had heard the crash and asked if I was ok. I didn't know. I moved by arms and legs and everything moved so I thought everything is going to turn out okay."
By the time Elaine was brought to the Avera Queen of Peace Trauma Center she started to realize she wasn't okay.
Elaine says, "They called in Dr. Leland and he put in a chest tube, then I went to intensive care with a collapsed lung."
Dr. Dennis Leland is a surgeon at Avera Queen of Peace and the Medical Director of the Trauma Center here. It's a Level III Trauma Center. A designation they have held since 2003 and recently were re-verified by the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Leland says, "For our level we are required to have surgeons available 24 hours a day. We are required to have certain areas of training and 24 hour ER coverage and the commitment for the trauma program from the rest of the staff."
That means when patients, like Elaine Pooley, come in with trauma all kinds of specialists in the hospital come running to the ER.
Dr. Leland says, "In a smaller community like this it becomes very personal. The people we take care of our friends, neighbors, and folks we see in church on Sunday and meet in the grocery store so we do this to take care of the folks in our community."
Elaine does count her blessings that in a time of crisis people in her own community could take care of her; 4 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, rattled nerves and all. She takes comfort in that every time she gets behind the wheel.
Dr. Leland says the only thing that makes a real difference with trauma care is how fast the patient gets to care. They can take care of everything right in Avera Queen of Peace's Trauma Center with exception to cardiac surgery and neurosurgery. If the patient needs that they will be airlifted to Sioux Falls as quickly as possible.