Organization Newsletter

March 2012

In this issue...

  1. President's Message
  2. State Office of Rural Health: How Can We Help?
  3. WRHA Welcomes New Members
  4. WRHA Welcomes New Board Members
  5. WRHA Annual Awards Presented
  6. Rural Outreach Nursing Education (RONE) Pinning Ceremony
  7. What is a Hospitalist?
  8. UW Project ROAM Update and New Course Info
  9. The Experience of a UW Trust Student
  10. Center of Occupational Health & Education (COHE)
  11. Health Training Network Opens New Training Facility with a New Paramedic Program
  12. Life Flight Network's Sandpoint Base Ready to Serve Eastern Washington
  13. Quincy Man Beats the Odds


The Washington Rural Health Association e-newsletter is a publication of Washington Rural Health Association, a not-for-profit association composed of individual and organization members who share a common interest in rural health. This e-newsletter seeks to disseminate news and information of interest to rural health professionals and stakeholders to help establish a state and national network of rural health care advocates.
WRHA members include administrators, educators, students, researchers, government agencies and workers, physicians, hospitals, clinics, migrant and community clinics, public health departments, insurers, professional associations and educational institutions. If you are interested in joining or renewing your membership with WRHA click here.

President's Message

submitted by: Vicky Brown, WRHA President

“C”ING THE FUTURE ~ CELEBRATING THE PAST”…….I believe we did just that this past week in Spokane at the 25th Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference. To those of you able to attend, thank you for committing the time and the resources to participate. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many of you and I do hope we, as your conference committee, met your expectations and addressed the healthcare delivery issues you are grappling with in your community.  For those of you unable to attend, we missed you, but there are several of the handouts/PowerPoint’s from our speakers available through the conference website that I am sure you will find helpful.

Thank you to our speakers who informed and inspired us. For all of the ‘uncertainty’ we manage on a daily basis, I came away hopeful. It would be impossible to not be hopeful about who is in charge of our future after listening to Tamara Jackson and her students from Bridgeport, WA.

Thank you to our vendors. Once again we had a sold out Exhibit Hall. We can’t deliver a quality conference without your support.

And an enormous thank you and hand of applause to Peter House, our Emcee again this year and to all of the volunteers and the conference management staff. Your commitment to keeping us organized, informed and on task is invaluable.

Your WRHA membership elected new board members at the annual meeting on March 14th, and they, along with your new WRHA President, John Hanson took office at the Board meeting, March 15th.  You will see a list of Board members and officers in this newsletter. Please join me in welcoming the new members and thanking those returning Board members for their service. There is still much work to do and there are a number of committees that could use your help. Please consider letting the Board know if you are interested in serving on the Legislative, Communications, or Membership committees.

It has been my honor to serve as your WRHA President during this milestone 25th anniversary year. I appreciate your friendship and all that I have learned from you during my participation on the WRHA Board.  I know that you will extend that same support to the current Board.

I want to close my final President’s letter to you with my favorite quote by Winston Churchill:

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Most Sincerely,

Vicky Brown, Past President WRHA

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State Office of Rural Health: How Can We Hlep?

As a program within the Department of Health (DOH), the State Office of Rural Health (SORH) has many resources from which to draw in its mission to support and strengthen the health care system throughout rural Washington. We work with internal partners such as other offices within DOH and external partners such as the Washington State Hospital Association, the Washington Rural Health Association, the Rural Health Clinic Association of Washington, the Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers, the Area Health Education Centers of Eastern and Western Washington, the Washington Recruitment Group, the University of Washington School of Medicine, Washington State University, and many, many others.

We play many roles. We are consultants to rural hospitals and clinics, we are recruiters of professional health care providers for rural areas, we support health education, we apply for grants to help rural organizations continue their work, we act as a clearing house of information that rural folks need.

Another important role that we fill is that of what you might call “conveners.” We will sometimes meet with people who are on different sides of a sticky problem and try to evolve a solution. For instance, recently we became aware of a potential problem regarding how the state Medicaid agency reimburses rural clinics. Because the Medicaid program is a sister organization to us within state government we chose not to become adversarial, but rather collaborative. We did our best to understand the nature of the controversy and got in touch with several of the participants in this discussion. Our message was, “We are concerned about access to care in rural areas. How can we help to ensure that access to care is not compromised by the positions people may take on this issue?”

Sometimes all you need to do is offer a different point of view.

I am not trying to imply that the SORH is the only moving party when there are disagreements. Many people from different organizations come together, pool their insights, and hopefully come up with a solution that pleases everyone. That’s not always possible, but I am always impressed with the sincerity the leaders of our rural organizations bring to discussions. No one wants to hurt anyone and we all want the best for the citizens of our state. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it.

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WRHA Welcomes New Members

New Student Members

Jennifer Hadlock, Spokane WA

New Individual Members

Chelsea Marker, Spokane, WA

Judi Poynor, Spokane, WA

Kimberly Morales, San Diego, CA

New Organizational Members

Gary Kriedberg, Harrison HealthPartners, Bremerton, WA

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WRHA Welcomes New Board Members

The Washington Rural Health Association elected new Board members at the annual membership meeting on March 14, 2012.  Newly selected for three-year terms were Ruth Ballweg, MEDEX Northwest; Jon Smiley, retired hospital administrator from the Lower Columbia Valley; and Alex SnowMassara, of Olympia.

The complete list of Board members and officers follows:

Elected Officers

John Hanson, President – Office of Community and Rural Health, Olympia

Konrad Capeller,  President-Elect and Treasurer - WIPFLi CPAs and Consultants, Spokane

Bettie Rundlett, Secretary, Spokane

Board Members

Chuck Baker , Kadlec Health Systems, Tri-Cities

Ruth Ballweg, MEDEX Northwest

Vicky Brown, Immediate Past President, Moses Lake

Charlie Button, Dayton General Hospital, Dayton

Paula Dowdle, Jefferson Healthcare, Port Townsend

Fran Miller, Forks Community Hospital-Bogachiel and Clallam Bay Medical Clinics, Forks

Nancy Nash-Mendez, Omak

John Smiley, Lower Columbia Valley

Alex SnowMassara, Olympia

NRHA State Association Council Representatives

John Hanson, President – Office of Community and Rural Health, Olympia

Konrad Capeller,  President-Elect and Treasurer - WIPFLi CPAs and Consultants, Spokane

NRHA State Office Council Representative

Kristina Sparks, Department of Health, Office of Community and Rural Health

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WRHA Annual Awards Presented

Lifelong dedication to improving the health of the rural population of our region was the common thread for the annual awards presented at the 25th Annual Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference.  Awards from the Washington Rural Health Association were presented by Karen Jensen, Washington Assistant Secretary of Health, and Kris Sparks, Past President of the National Rural Health Association.  Three awards were presented this year: Friend of Rural Health, Katherine A. Sanders; Outstanding Contribution to Rural Health, Natalie Gonzalez; and Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner, Rob and Patty Slagle.

Katherine Sanders worked for the Washington Health Foundation for many years, engaging Washingtonians in the Healthiest State in the Nation campaign.  She supported the foundation’s rural grant programs, giving rural communities millions of dollars to nurture projects to improve community health.  Although she has officially left the Washington Health Foundation, she remains involved with the AmeriCorps volunteers who are making a difference in our communities.

Natalie Gonzalez has dedicated her 30 year career in service to rural and underserved populations in Washington and throughout the United States.  Currently employed by the Washington Department of Health, Office of Community Health Systems/Rural Health, she works enthusiastically with public hospital districts, rural health clinics, tribes, community health centers and correctional institutions to source, place, and “close the deal” on recruitment of health professionals.  Natalie’s placements have had a tremendous effect both on the providers who found new communities and rural patients who gained access to much needed healthcare services.  Prior to her work in direct recruitment she was an advocate for adequate housing for our State’s farm workers.  Natalie’s reach is national in scope: She has served as the President of  3R Net, The National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network, and continues to serve as an advisor to recruiters across the nation.  One of the administrators with whom Natalie has worked  said, “Finding people willing to spend their professional lives in rural and isolated areas is a difficult task.  But with Natalie as a partner in this pursuit, you know the odds are in your favor.”

Rob and Patty Slagle, owners of the Republic Drug Store in Republic, WA, have been very important players in health care services for citizens of Ferry County for many years, following a Slagle family tradition of providing pharmacy needs to the community for over a century.  Their nomination states, “Without the continued involvement of local pharmacists like Patty and Rob Slagle, frontier communities will find it increasingly difficult to attract and sustain medical providers and nurses to serve their clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.  Access to healthcare will become ever more expensive for our farmers, ranchers, lumbermen, miners, and those who simply want to escape the insanity of the “big city” either to live in a rural environment or just recreate there.”

New this year to the Awards presentations, was the presentation of the 2012 Franklin S. Newman Montana Rural Health Leadership Award, presented to Peter J. House, University of Washington rural health instructor, former Director of the WWAMI AHEC programs, and tireless community advocate in the Northwest states.  Kristin Juliar, Director of the Montana Area Health Education Center programs, made the presentation, which is to become an annual award at the Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference, in honor of Frank Newman, who died in November,  Frank joined the faculty at Montana State University in 1961. During his tenure at MSU he held a variety of academic positions. Frank was one of the founders and became the director of the MSU branch of the University of Washington Medical School Regional Medical Education Program (WWAMI program).   He directed other health professional programs including the Montana Family Practice Residency Program, the Montana Area Health Education Center and the Montana Office of Rural Health.

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Rural Outreach Nursing Education (RONE) Pinning Ceremony

Pictured left to right: Gary Peck, Jessica Harris, Jenelle Anderson, Sheila Koler, Cristy Vining, Melinda Carlson

submitted by: Becky R. Miner, MSN, RN-BC, CIC
[email protected]

Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chewelah, WA had their first pinning ceremony for nursing students graduating from Lower Columbia College (LCC) Rural Outreach Nursing Education (RONE) program on December 8, 2011. Four students began their studies in January 2010. A fifth student, an LPN, joined the cohort as an LPN to RN student in January 2011. The students decided to wear their LCC graduation gowns to commemorate the occasion. During the ceremony, their instructor, Becky Miner, shared a short story or memory about the student’s journey through RONE as a family member placed a LCC School of Nursing pin on the graduating nursing student. The students and instructor read the Florence Nightingale Pledge to friends, family, and peers after all had received their pins. The next step is passing the NCLEX-RN exam in order to become RNs. All the graduates have RN positions waiting for them in Stevens County: two at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital, one at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital, one at Pinewood Terrace Nursing Center and one at NE Washington Health Programs.

Gary Peck, Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital President -Retired, gave the welcome and opening remarks.

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What is a Hospitalist?

submitted by: Dr. Sandra Guidry, Rural Physicians Group Hospitalist

[email protected]

What is a hospitalist?
Hospitalists are board certified/board eligible internal medicine physicians who provide care for hospital patients. Hospitalists are skilled at handling complex medical issues and provide a high level of care for patients during a hospital stay. Close consultation and communication with the patient’s primary care physician begins when the patient is admitted and continues until the patient is discharged.

How do patients and their family contact their hospitalist if they have questions or concerns about their care?
Rural Physicians Group Hospitalists stay in the hospital and are available to respond to patient’s needs 24/7. A local cell phone number to contact the hospitalist any time of the day is available to the patient and their family to provide answers to questions or provide care within minutes. Our healthcare professionals understand the importance of reducing anxiety by keeping patients and family members informed and having a hospitalist easily accessible.

Does the hospitalist communicate with the patient’s family doctor?
Hospitalists provide a personal link between the patient and their family physician by close communication and consultation during the patient’s hospital stay. Not only do the hospitalists communicate with your family doctor but they are available at all times to provide support and answer questions from nursing or other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care.

Is the hospitalist service available to all physicians?
Rural Physicians Group is non-exclusive so any physician can use the hospitalist service. The hospitalist service helps physicians balance work and their personal life by offering physicians the opportunity to allow hospitalists to care for their hospital patients. Retaining physicians by helping reduce their often grueling work schedule is a key benefit to the community.

Where does my primary doctor fit in?
Primary care doctors refer patients to a hospitalist when a patient can no longer be cared for in an outpatient setting and that patient requires inpatient hospitalization. Following discharge from the hospital, each patient will return to the care of his/her regular, primary care physician. Patients are encouraged to contact the hospitalist with questions or concerns after discharge and before they see their primary care physician for increased continuity of care, patient safety and peace of mind.

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UW Project ROAM Update and New Course Info

submitted by: Mary Catlin
[email protected]

The death rate is down! The Washington State Department of Health reports that the three year average death rate associated with unintentional opiate use including prescription drugs has decreased 35%. For the years 2008-10, the rate is now 6.1 deaths per 100,000 persons in Washington. Nonetheless, this means 1228 Washingtonians lost their lives from a preventable and treatable illness. And the seven overdose deaths in King County lead Public Health – Seattle& King County to issue a reminder that it’s safe to seek help: the new state Good Samaritan Law passed in 2010 provides immunity from criminal charges of drug possession for both the witness and the person experiencing an overdose. See for more information.

Another new tool to prevent opiate related deaths is the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). Prescribers can sign on before prescribing opiate pain medications to see if patients are already receiving drugs from other providers. DOH reports that 2349 physicians have already logged on to this Program and many are already true believers. “I had treated a chronic patient with long term opioids and never, ever suspected a problem,” one physician said after learning that a “completely trusted” patient had been obtaining opiates from several providers for years. Another physician checked the PMP and learned that a prescription pad had been stolen and was industriously being filled. A third clinician found it reassuring that his patients were not getting medications from other prescribers. Clinicians at a large methadone treatment clinic now routinely look up every client, as they trust but verify patient reports. What will you find? Sign up at

Treatment is also effective at preventing deaths from opioid dependence and addiction. But in Washington State nine counties still lack buprenorphine prescribers and methadone maintenance clinics. As PMP, patient history, the opioid risk tool,urine drug tests, and other elements encouraged by the ESHB 2876 become common elements of care, providers will uncover substance use disorders in their patients. Approaches of the last century, detoxification and counseling have been shown to be less effective than replacement therapy for long term addiction. Fortunately, treatments for this new century will be presented by the WAFP 63rd Annual Scientific Assembly, May 12, 2012 at the Suncadia Resort Cle Elum, WA. Faculty include UW’s Dr. Joseph O. Merrill, winner of the national 2012 SAMSHA Science and Service Award. Register at for the Office Based Treatment of Opioid Addiction. The state of the science for the treatment of chronic pain and addiction will be presented in this course. Participants are eligible to prescribe buprenorphine for the office based treatment of opioid dependence. For more information, contact [email protected]

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The Experiences of a UW Trust Student

submitted by: Kial Anderson
[email protected]

As some of you may know, the University of Washington School of Medicine has a Spokane branch where twenty students spend their first year. I am currently a member of that class and we have a running joke about trying to explain to strangers about why there are UW students studying at a WSU campus in Spokane. On top of that I am also a TRUST student, so I also have a spiel memorized about what that means. Typically when a stranger asks me what TRUST is I say, “Well it stands for Targeted Rural Under-Served Track and I am a part of it because I am interested in rural medicine.” Of course this is the very brief version and when I was asked to write this article I realized I was going to need to come up with a slightly more detailed response.

Every TRUST student has a site; a community in Eastern Washington where they spend time shadowing, learning, and completing projects and third year rotations. I was given the choice between five sites and I chose Newport, Washington, a small town about 50 miles north of Spokane. All TRUST students spend one week prior to the start of their first year at their site getting to know the area and the doctors and patients that they will be working with. I entered that week full of excitement and no small amount of trepidation, hoping that I had made the right choice…hoping that rural medicine would be all that I had imagined it would be. Thankfully, it was, and that first week was filled with enough exciting experiences to get me through those first couple months in medical school when anatomy caused me to question the sanity of my choice to become a physician. Every other Tuesday I have gotten to go back to Newport to spend the day shadowing physicians, interviewing patients, and watching procedures. As my knowledge and abilities have grown, I have gotten to test them out and stretch my wings in the clinic there as I advanced from observer, to interviewer, to even a participant in physical exams and procedures, albeit a clumsy one.

As I write this I keep trying to figure out how I am going to capture in writing what a unique experience TRUST is…because it is certainly not just about getting extra experiences listening for patient heart sounds. The best way that I can think to describe what it has meant to me so far is that TRUST has given me the early opportunity to see that the kind of medicine I want to practice still exists. I have been given the opportunity to see amazing continuity of care for patients who have been seeing the same doctor since they were born in the Newport hospital 20 years ago. I have seen patients who are living in 3rd world situations that are only 70 miles outside of the 2nd most populous city in Washington. Finally I have observed the dedication, ingenuity, and passion of several wonderful doctors who I have been lucky enough to receive mentorship from.

Recently I was able to participate in a round-table discussion about rural residency training and the difficulties associated with enticing students to train and practice in rural areas. One of the main points that we discussed was that many people start medical school thinking that they want to work in a rural or under-served area because they genuinely want to help those who need it most; but once these students do all of their rotations in big teaching hospitals where every resource is at their fingertips they tend to stay in that environment. This is the precise reason why I feel that TRUST is so important and why I am so glad to be a part of it; it has given me the opportunity to be exposed to the exciting and sometimes frustrating world of under-served medicine. I am learning from my very first year the pros and cons and the tips and tricks of being a successful doctor in a small town.

Everyone writes in their admissions essay that they want to become a doctor so that they can help people, but working solely in a big hospital in a big city does not always give them the tools they need to become truly proficient at reaching the populations that need their altruism the most. As physicians it is our duty to reach these groups of people and therefore we need to conceive new ways of training future physicians to do just that. I am confident that TRUST has started me on a path that will allow me to efficiently reach the populations that need care…and given me the tools and advice that will allow me to stay sane while I do it!

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Center of Occupational Health & Education (COHE)

submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

The Eastern Washington Center of Occupational Health & Education (COHE), sponsored by St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in collaboration with Labor and Industries, has opened a new office in East Wenatchee to better serve communities in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan Counties. COHE’s office is located in the East Wenatchee Regional Office of the Department of Labor & Industries:

COHE- East Wenatchee
519 Grant Rd.
East Wenatchee, Washington 98802
Phone: (509) 886-6550

This is in addition to the COHE Spokane and Yakima offices.

Health care providers in Chelan-Douglas-Okanogan Counties see over 5,000 state fund Labor & Industries claims annually, 75% of which are seen by COHE health providers. Due to the agricultural and manufacturing industries in the region, there has been need for more focused resources from Health Service Coordinators. Having an office in East Wenatchee will allow increased customer service response including face-to-face interaction, which was not previously available on a regular basis.

Pete Phillips, Health Service Coordinator for COHE will be located at the East Wenatchee office. Phillips will increase communication and cooperation between regional office staff and COHE’s health service coordinators. Phillips will also provide coordination services to providers, employers, and injured workers throughout Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan Counties.

Dr. Daniel Hansen, Program Director of the Eastern WA COHE said, “The COHE has enjoyed a good affinity with our North Central Washington customers and Pete’s presence as health services coordinator will magnify that.”

The North Central Tri-County area currently has over 200 participating COHE providers including six hospital ERs. Additionally, over 200 employers and several labor unions currently participate in COHE.

For more information about the Eastern Washington COHE, visit

The Center of Occupational Health and Education (COHE is a service of Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS). Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) is a non-profit corporation in Spokane, Washington providing collaboration in health care services. For more information, visit

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Health Training Network Opens New Training Facility with a New Paramedic Program

submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

The Health Training Network, a service of Inland Northwest Health Services, is opening a new training facility to house medical training classes. Among the first certification courses to be taught at the training facility are a new Paramedic Program and an Emergency Medical Technician. The new facility is located at 1610 N. Rebecca in Spokane, WA

Paramedic Program
The first class of the nine-month Paramedic Program began February 2012. Other classes to be taught at the new location include professional medical education classes for EMS providers and health care workers.

Initially 24 paramedic students will go through the Paramedic Program which will grow to 48 students in 2013. The program consists of five months of course work in Spokane plus practicum and internship requirements. At completion students will receive certification as a Paramedic in the State of Washington and the National Registry of EMTs. The program follows the U.S. Department of Transportation 2009, Paramedic National Standard guidelines. Students are expected to come from throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationally.

Emergency Medical Technician
An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course is starting April 10 at the facility. Upon completion students are eligible to be certified as an EMT. The course registration deadline is March 23 at 3 p.m.

Other Certification Courses Offered
Emergency Medical Responder and Advanced EMT are also offered by HTN.

Continuing Education Courses
HTN offers a menu of continuing education courses at the Training Facility and via Northwest TeleHealth or by arrangement at your location. Courses include Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), ACLS, PALS, CPR and First Aid, Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals (PEPP) and Geriatric Education for Emergency Medical Services (GEMS). The FarMedic Training Program is offered to provide rural fire/rescue responders with a systematic approach to farm rescue procedures for the safety of both patients and responders.

Visit for information, current course offerings and online registration.

Attention Northwest MedStar Members: Receive 10% off on all Health Training Network continuing education courses.

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Life Flight Network's Sandpoint Base Ready to Serve Eastern Washington

submitted by: Erick Borland
[email protected]

Life Flight Network (LFN), a not-for-profit air medical transport service in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West, recently opened a new helicopter base in Sandpoint, Idaho on March 1. LFN CEO Mike Griffiths states, “Our decision to make this significant investment followed substantial research and dialogue with a number of community leaders and healthcare professionals to confirm there was a medical transport need we could meet.”

Time is of the essence in most critical injury or illness situations and Life Flight Network has a long history of working effectively with local EMS providers to reduce transport time. The new base in Sandpoint is perfectly positioned to provide a critical safety net for residents in eastern Washington. The benefit of having a helicopter base in Sandpoint is supported by comments from healthcare professionals such as Steve Groom, who states, “As the CEO of the largest EMS agency serving Pend Oreille County in eastern Washington, I am pleased Life Flight Network is willing to work with our county’s EMS system. We serve a large rural area and having additional air resources nearby will greatly aid our ability to meet our responsibilities for the residents of the county.”

A story by Keith Kinnaird in the Bonner County Daily Bee on March 2nd reports, “Within three hours of opening the doors of its new base at Sandpoint Airport on Thursday, Life Flight Network was racing toward Priest Lake to pick up an unconscious elderly man with a critical injury.” The reporter goes on to quote Bonner County EMS Chief Rob Wakeley in this way, “A critically injured person in a very remote area of our county was delivered to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane within 83 minutes of our system being notified. This was 27 minutes faster than our last airlift out of the same area in clear weather conditions.”

Life Flight Network hired and trained fourteen personnel for the Sandpoint base, including flight nurses, flight paramedics, pilots and mechanics. These crew members and the rotor-wing aircraft assigned to the base are at the ready to handle air medical transport on a 24 hour/7 days per week basis.

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Quincy Man Beats the Odds

Northwest MedStar patient Dan Jagla enjoying a moment at home.

submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

Last September something went horribly wrong while Dan Jagla was backfilling a ditch in Quincy, Washington. His colleagues found him with the front tire of the Bobcat trencher crushing his chest and ribs. He was bleeding heavily and had turned blue with no signs of breathing.

“That first call was a heart stopper. You dread those kinds of calls,” said his wife Nancy, who rushed to the hospital just in time to accompany Dan on his Northwest MedStar flight to Spokane.

Given the severity of Dan’s injuries — crushed ribs and sternum, relocated heart, pierced lungs, blood loss, concussion and multiple cardiac arrests — his chances of survival were slim.

“I’ve taught trauma classes all over the country and this truly was an amazing case,” said Northwest MedStar’s Jeff Dawson, Registered Nurse. “With chest trauma, the survival rate is dismal. Everything is too broken if you go into cardiac arrest and he’d already gone into multiple cardiac arrests.”

The flight team arrived and worked with the hospital staff to resuscitate him, succeeding after 20 minutes. Time was critical and they worked hard to stabilize Dan for transport to Spokane.

“They were very professional but very warm too. That is important,” said Nancy of the critical care flight crew. “They were concerned and caring. I could feel their professionalism. I could just feel Dan was in good hands. They quietly worked over Dan the whole flight.”

Then, while landing in Spokane, Dan started to show signs of arrest a fourth time.

“We were able to prevent that, to stop that cardiac arrest event,” said Jeff, adding that he was impressed by Nancy’s faith and composure. “She was praying and singing church hymns the whole way. Wow, this is a woman of faith.”

Later that night, when Jeff called the hospital to check on Dan he learned that Dan was stable but still unconscious. And since he’d gone so long without oxygen to his brain, his long-term prognosis was grim.

“They didn’t give us much hope,” said Nancy. “He was on CPR and without oxygen for quite a long time. He also had a severe concussion.”

The next day, Jeff called again. Not only had Dan woken up, he’d recognized his family and held their hands. “Dan stirring, recognizing his family by nightfall the first day, he is still with us…Thank you God!” wrote Nancy in her journal of the ordeal.

After getting his chest rebuilt with titanium plates and able to speak again, his first whispered words to his wife were, “I love you Nancy.”

Less than a month later Dan was well enough to go home and by the holidays he was doing light chores and driving, with no signs of neurological damage. “I think he’s smarter now than in the last five years,” said Nancy, laughing.

Nancy said they are thankful for the many medical professionals who helped Dan, from the first responders and emergency room personnel to the Northwest MedStar critical care flight crew and the doctors at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. “It is beyond words,” she said. “Thank you to all of them. Our lives are changed.”

Northwest MedStar
Spokane | TriCities | Moses Lake
To request a transport call (800) 422-2440 or (509) 532-7990
Membership (855) 856-4687

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