Joel and Cori Browning chose TMH for the birth of their two children, Lucas (2) and Charlotte (almost 1) because they believe in the community—but they stayed because they love the staff.
“The nurses at TMH are seasoned and very calming. We felt like all of their attention was on us,” Cori says.
The couple didn’t consider leaving town for the birth of their two children—they didn’t see any reason to do so. They felt the staff was very professional and nurses were on the ball. They especially appreciate the care they received from Dr. Scott Ellis, Dr. Jon Hamilton and currently from Dr. Kristie Yarmer—the kids’ pediatrician.
“During the delivery Dr. Ellis was very calm under pressure and really explained things well. He asked if there was anything TMH could do better. The fact that he asked that says a lot about the hospital’s integrity and character,” Joel says.
They say they enjoy the hometown feel of TMH and appreciate receiving great care from people they know and recognize. It made them feel like they weren’t just a number, but a neighbor.
“And the Pink Ladies who come around offering snacks—now that’s community! That says they care,” Cori says.
Joel knows his hometown well. He grew up in Craig and graduated from Moffat High. Today he works at the City of Craig Water Plant and is the former owner of Identity Graphics.
“We value the comfort of having a hometown hospital and being able to drive across town in an emergency. It’s nice to know who is caring for us, and to know they have our backs,” Joel says.
Last football season ended abruptly for Lane Gonzales (16). The Moffat High School football team was at an away game in Fruita. At the end of a play, Lane took a low hit to his leg from the side. He heard a pop and felt pain in his left knee—was it a torn ACL?
The next day at school, Lane talked with Marshall Kraker, TMH’s Certified Athletic Trainer who advised him to get diagnostic tests to determine if his suspicions that Lane tore his ACL were correct. Lane visited TMH Clinic where an x-ray and an MRI were ordered. Sure enough, Lane had torn his ACL or anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. This important ligament helps connect the tibia and femur at the knee.
Surgery was needed, and his family chose Dr. Meininger. Lane’s mother Starla works at TMH so she was happy to have the surgery at the hospital. The experience was great. Dr. Meininger was “very thorough” and the surgical team “made jokes to calm Lane’s nerves,” she says.
Afterwards, Lane received physical therapy at TMH Rehab. He became close with Luke Geer, PT, who was pleased to see his patient recover but admitted he’d miss him. Lane showed his appreciation by giving Luke a Subway gift card.
“Luke and I became pals. He was really serious about me getting better and he made therapy fun,” Lane states.
Lane feels relieved knowing Marshall will be at the sidelines this fall. He says it gives him peace of mind that Marshall knows his history and is able to quickly assess what’s going on with an injury.
“Marshall has inspired me to be sports trainer. It’s reassuring to know he’s on the sidelines at every game if I need him again,” Lane concludes.
Lane’s grateful for the great care he received at TMH, and he’s ready to get back on the field.
With four boys the Scranton family has used The Memorial Hospital and TMH Medical Clinic regularly over the years.
The boys, all teenagers and young men, have received care for appendectomies, a damaged ACL and other orthopaedic needs. Two of the four boys were born at TMH. The family uses the medical clinic for regular doctor visits.
When appendicitis sets in, it can be scary. It’s an infection of the appendix that demands fast action and often surgery. The patient feels nauseas, may vomit and has a high fever. Appendicitis is most common in the teen years.
“TMH’s general surgeon Dr. Womble treated our son as if he was his own child. He was no nonsense and we liked that. When your child is in pain you want responsive care and a lot of information. The doctors and nurses were very on top of it,” says Lance Scranton, a teacher with Moffat County Schools.
“We’ve lived in a lot of places and the quality of care here is as good or better than anywhere else we’ve been. We choose TMH because it’s our community hospital,” Lance adds.
The Scrantons have always found the care at TMH to be exceptional and strongly believe that since we have good quality healthcare right here at home we should take advantage of it as a community.
“Why not use TMH? The hospital is beautiful and you can tell the staff really takes pride in it. If you don’t use TMH you don’t know what we have, right here in Craig. The community made a sacrifice to fund the hospital so we should all use it, especially because they provide quality care,” Lance concludes.
Breast cancer is no stranger to the women in the Coverston family. After conquering colon cancer 16 years ago and supporting both her daughters and a niece through breast cancer, Corky is now completing treatment for breast cancer herself.
“We’re 4 for 4 in the family. I’ve had cysts or lumps in the past, but they were fine. In October 2014, I found a lump and it got bigger and my lymph nodes swelled. I had a needle biopsy and it was cancer,” says Corky.
Since then she had a double mastectomy and chemotherapy at TMH, and is now wrapping up radiation therapy at St. Mary’s.
She and her husband Eddie have been overwhelmed by the support they have received not only from friends and family, but from the entire town of Craig—a community they’ve lived in most of their lives.
“Everybody in this town has been wonderful. People not only from our church but other churches are praying for us, we get hugs in the grocery store, people are doing us favors and everywhere we go in the hospital is just one big family. They are concerned about us from Margaret and Susan at the front to the nurses and doctors,” says Eddie.
“We have a good team here. The doctors and nurses all know me and all they have to do is look at me to know something is wrong,” Corky adds.
The couple is especially grateful for the exceptional care they received from Dr. Alexis Driggs, her surgical team and Marie Kettle in infusion.
“Dr. Driggs really cares. She is fantastic. She postponed her vacation for me. I had a CAT scan and something happened to my port. Dr. Driggs was getting ready to leave for Utah for Thanksgiving and a wedding but she stayed to remove the port with Dr. Womble and make sure I was okay.”
The couple has a great attitude to go along with the great support they’ve received from everyone around them.
“We can’t dwell on the past, we just have to look ahead and get back to living,” Corky concludes.
Doyle O’Neil thinks running a good hospital is similar to running a good hotel. He believes it’s all in the hospitality, and catering to the unique needs of your guests—something he understands well as the general manager of the Hampton Inn in Craig.
“Each guest comes into the hotel with a different need and we train the staff to handle each type of guest. A hospital is similar—you have to keep track of the room, keep the place clean and safe, and manage all guests,” Doyle says.
Doyle is a big fan of TMH, but he wasn’t always. He had never been to the hospital before but he’d heard some not so flattering rumors. That’s why when he started having chest pains he not only worried about his health but about the care he’d receive.
“I’m happy to say they got it right from the start and my care was totally different from the rumors,” says Doyle.
On Saturday, January 31, Doyle woke up not feeling well. He didn’t recognize the chest pain he was having as an issue with his heart. When the pain didn’t go away throughout the day he drove himself to the hospital.
He took comfort in his nurse, Sarah, who “really took charge, set the expectations, and helped me relax,” he says. He also says that James his EKG Tech, “was hilarious and didn’t let me panic.”
The ER staff moved fast and discovered that one of Doyle’s coronary arteries was 100% blocked, depriving his heart of oxygen.
“Dr. Huyn took me right back and got me stable, gave me the right medicine to break up the blockage and saved my life. He had all charts ready to go for St. Mary’s where I was quickly airlifted,” he adds.
At St. Mary’s he had a stent put in his heart and was diagnosed with A-Fib or atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to heart-related complications. He is currently receiving follow-up care from Dr. Gerald Myers, cardiologist with TMH.
He was pleased with the communication and mutual respect between the doctors at the two hospitals. St. Mary’s doctors were complimentary of Dr. Huyn’s care.
“TMH is totally different from some of the rumors I’d heard. They’ve really got their act together—the communication and care were great, and they really care about their patients.”
Having firsthand experience with the inner workings of a hospital isn’t something we all wish to have—but it’s something Ashley Moon can claim. Despite her young age, she’s had a number of surgeries. In June of 2013 she had a heartbreaking ectopic pregnancy. Dr. Ellis performed the surgery. It happened fast and Ashley relied on the reassurance from staff until her husband Doyle arrived.
“My nurse was a huge comfort to me. She was there holding my hand before they put me under and again when I woke up,” Ashley says.
Then, just four months later in October 2013, Ashley had Doyle drive her to the ER because she thought she had a bad flu. She ended up having an obstructed bowel that demanded immediate surgery and a month-long stay. No one wants to spend a month in the hospital, but Ashley says the staff treated her like family and really cared for her.
“The nurses pampered me. I remember wanting to go outside so they bundled me up and took me out. It makes it especially comforting to know the people who are taking care of you. Some of us actually became friends, and we still see each other,” she adds.
Ashley sees specialists for her condition in Grand Junction, but she goes to TMH for most of her care. She is impressed how the TMH doctors are so willing to collaborate with each other and especially praises Dr. Womble, general surgeon, for collaborating so well with her specialist in Grand Junction—and how together they do whatever is best for her.
“At TMH, the rooms are beautiful, the doctors are high quality, and the nurses do everything they can for you. I wouldn’t go anywhere else for care. The last time we had to go to the hospital my husband said, ‘Do you want me to keep driving to Grand Junction?’ I said ‘No, I want to go to TMH where the nurses and doctors know me best,” she concludes.
Ashley is attending nursing school and will graduate in May 2016. The care she received at TMH inspired her to go to school so she can give the good care she received back to others. She’ll be amazing.
Baby Stella was so anxious to meet her parents Heather and Todd and brother Issac that she came four weeks early. The delivery went without a hitch and the couple was in and out of the hospital in 36 hours.
As luck would have it, the Trapp’s were the only family in the birthing center that night, so the nurses spoiled them. The couple enjoyed the new feel of the birthing center and felt truly grateful to have such knowledgeable doctors caring for them including obstetricians Dr. Scott Ellis and Dr. Jim Summers.
“We felt like it was our own private place. The nurses and doctors were really great,” says Heather Trapp.
Stella was healthy except for a high level of biliruben in her blood, which causes jaundice and is usually not harmful, but can be—especially for babies who are born before 38 weeks. She received immediate care from pediatrician Dr. Kristie Yarmer.
“The second we met Dr. Yarmer we loved her. She called us every day that first week and even on the weekend to make sure everything was going well for Stella. She is so incredibly thorough,” says Heather Trapp.
The Trapp family never thought twice about going anywhere but The Memorial Hospital.
“We chose TMH because it’s OUR hospital. We have really great doctors right here in Craig. I don’t know why anyone would go anywhere else for care. It just doesn’t make sense,” says Todd Trapp.
Todd appreciated being able to attend prenatal appointments with Heather, and well child checks with Stella, since he works just a few blocks down the road at Moffat High School where both Todd and Heather are teachers.
“I don’t understand why anyone would drive 45 minutes to another hospital. The convenience of TMH is great and we’ve got really high quality doctors here,” Todd concludes.
Gerry Pritchard came to TMH seeking a second chance. After being at one hospital that told him nothing else could be done he decided he wasn’t ready to give up and he came to TMH. Doctors told him they’d do everything in their power to help him combat his metastatic malignant melanoma—a serious form of cancer.
Gerry was diagnosed September 2014 and told at the time that he should call hospice as there wasn’t anything they could do for him. It simply wasn’t an option. Gerry wanted to fight to live.
In January 2015, Gerry came to TMH in renal failure, a serious condition where your kidneys shut down and it can be fatal. A hospitalist at TMH met with him and they had a long discussion about his health history. The doctor told him he would do everything in his power to help. Within a few days, Gerry was feeling better and able to go home.
Gerry continued his care with Dr. Jon Hamilton, a family medicine physician with TMH Medical Clinic. He also received infusion treatments at the TMH Infusion Clinic.
“Dr. Jon worked with me and prescribed several treatments to help combat my cancer. He never gave up on me,” Gerry says.
The two made a good team. Dr. Hamilton was equally touched by Gerry and inspired by his perseverance.
“To have the opportunity to care for someone with such resilience and a positive attitude toward defeating a serious disease is a gift. Gerry has taught me more than he will ever realize,” says Dr. Hamilton.
Gerry has lived in Craig since 1975 and he has never had doubts about the care he receives at TMH. He believes the staff is exceptional.
“It’s always a very good experience. The nurses and CNAs really do fabulous work and Marie Kettle in infusion is a sweetheart. She is so caring and eases my mind and goes out of her way to minimize the situation,” Gerry adds.
He also sings the praises of St. Mary’s oncology staff Dr. Hancock and James Rice, RN along with Erin Hatter, the health navigator. He has also received much support from Maria Mossman with VNA Home Health and Hospice.
In less than a year, Gerry is feeling much better and his cancer has shrunk to just a few spots rather than dominating his whole body. He wants to send a message of hope and let people know miracles do happen.
“I choose TMH because they give me hope and help make miracles happen,” he concludes.
The first few days of Macy’s life were scary for her family. It was Lauren and Joe’s first baby and they didn’t know what to expect. Lauren went into labor three weeks early and upon arriving at TMH was quickly rushed to the OR for a C-section. Macy was born with Down syndrome and the next day, Dr. Kristie Yarmer discovered a heart murmur. Macy was sent by Flight for Life to St. Mary’s in Grand Junction. Fast-forward a year and a healthy Macy just celebrated her first birthday.
“After we received the diagnosis of Down syndrome, Dr. Ellis was amazing, so supportive and caring. Right away he offered names of other parents in our community who had children with Down syndrome so we wouldn’t feel so alone,” Lauren said.
The cardiologist at St. Mary’s completed an echocardiogram and discovered two small holes in her tiny heart—something that can happen with Down syndrome. Luckily the holes were small enough that they didn’t require surgery. Macy was in the hospital for five days and required oxygen for three months as her heart healed.
“We were pleased to see how closely our doctors here worked with the doctors at St. Mary’s. It was like they were one big team—they communicated really well, keeping us informed every step of the way,” Joe adds.
The couple is very grateful for the personal attention and dedication from the TMH doctors and nurses. Even today, TMH Medical Clinic manager Terri Jourgensen checks in with the family weekly.
“We want to recognize certain staff. One is Terri—we call her FAT, short for ‘Fake Aunt Terri,’ because she was there for us from day one. She knew I was drowning in all the appointments so she jumped in and coordinated our appointments here and at St. Mary’s. We text and call her whenever we need guidance,” Lauren says.
Lauren also wants to give a call out to the nurses who cared for them during their hospital stay. She names Jessie Grandbouche, Aimee Haskins and Jenna Stark, all part of the team in the TMH Birthing Center. “They were all so great. Jenna’s shift ended but she stayed many more hours to see Macy off on the helicopter,” she says.
Macy is getting stronger every day. Her heart is healed. She’s done wearing her cast for her hip dysplasia, but she’ll be in a brace for a little while longer. She is sitting up, bright eyed, and ready to take on the world.
Lauren and Joe feel like TMH ambassadors, telling their friends and family to go to TMH rather than travel to other hospitals: “They make everyone feel like they are their number one priority. How do they do that? People say the grass is greener elsewhere. I say the grass is nice and green over here,” Joe concludes.
Lauren and Joe look forward to having a second baby some day. The two Moffat County teachers find amazing joy in their beautiful daughter. March 24th was Macy’s birthday, and they are excited to see what the next year will bring.
© 2016 The Memorial Hospital at Craig