Compassionate care with a hometown feel

Jan. 10, 2019
In this photo, Phyllis stands along Spring Creek trail in Steamboat Springs.
Phyllis along Spring Creek Trail in Steamboat Springs. Photo courtesy of Phyllis.

Phyllis and her husband, Richard, love to hike and be outdoors. Living in West Tisbury, a town located on Martha’s Vineyard, they’re surrounded by beautiful scenery.

With a cousin in Steamboat Springs and an open invitation for the last few years, they took their hiking shoes westward in October 2018.

But before they left, Phyllis, a personal trainer, realized an infection in her finger was getting worse.

“I thought it was inconsequential,” she said. “I kept thinking it would go away.”

But it didn’t – it kept getting worse.

“By the time we got to Steamboat, the sleepless nights were starting to add up due to the pain,” said Phyllis. “I told Richard, ‘I think we need to go to the emergency department.’”

‘Beautiful experience’

When Phyllis and Richard arrived at the emergency department at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, Phyllis was put under the care of registered nurse Craig Russell and Dr. Laila Powers.

“I was treated with courtesy and professionalism,” she said. “It was such a relief to me to have made the decision to get the finger attended to and, of course, to be treated with such excellent service.”

“It’s important to intervene early with infections, before it has the chance to worsen to the point of requiring IV antibiotics or even operative intervention,” said Dr. Powers.

In this photo, Phyllis stands in the middle of Arches National Park.
Phyllis in Arches National Park, the day after a visit to the emergency department at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Phyllis.

Dr. Powers determined that the infection needed to be drained out of Phyllis’ finger. After explaining to Phyllis what was going to happen, the quick procedure – an incision, draining and sutures – took place. Powers gave Phyllis a prescription for antibiotics to prevent further infection.

“We were out the door and down the road to Moab before we knew it,” said Phyllis. “This could have ruined our trip, but everything worked out quite well.”

Hometown feel

West Tisbury has a population of 2,898, according to 2017 census data. Being from a small town, Phyllis said she knows firsthand the importance a hospital plays in small communities.

“There’s one hospital on the entire island of Martha’s Vineyard,” she said. “Steamboat is almost like an island, too, being some distance from Denver. I know how important a facility like this is to the public. It’s important to have care available when you need it, and compassionate care at that, which was certainly what I felt there.”

With her finger now healed, Phyllis was glad she heeded the advice she often gives her clients – don’t procrastinate.

“I’m thankful I went in when I did,” she said, “and I’m thankful everything went well.”

About the author

Lindsey Reznicek is a communications specialist at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She has spent the last ten years working in marketing and communications in health care, an industry she never considered but one to which she's contributed through her work in media relations, executive messaging and internal communications. She considers it an honor to interact with patients and write about their experiences; it’s what keeps her coming back to work each day.

A native of Nebraska, Lindsey received a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a focus on public relations, from the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University – she bleeds purple.

She could see a Broadway musical every week, is a huge animal lover, enjoys a good shopping trip, and likes spending time in the kitchen. Lindsey and her husband have two daughters and enjoy hiking in the summer and skiing all winter long.