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Caring is Our Calling – Going the Extra Mile

Jan 21, 2020

Last Christmas Eve, a patient in dire need of emergency care came to Evanston Regional Hospital. This is a story demonstrating the importance of quality care provided in rural communities. The actions of community members and hospital staff, to save a life of a neighbor, are detailed in a letter to the editor in the Uinta County Herald, written by Dr. Jared B. Barton, a general surgeon here in Evanston:


I’m writing this letter of appreciation for an event that happened on Christmas Eve. I think it typifies the type of people we have in our community. I have permission from the family to write this letter, but I will withhold the patient’s name out of respect for privacy.

On Christmas Eve, a gentleman from our county came to the ER. He had a problem that is rarely seen and was rapidly bleeding to death. After seeing this patient, he was immediately rushed to the operating room. In the OR, the bleeding was controlled. He received blood and blood clotting products through IV transfusion. He was stabilized, but remained in critical condition. He required respiratory support, cardiovascular support and what we call definitive care for his problem. Our hospital didn’t have the ability to provide definitive care for this very serious condition. We could only stop the bleeding and support the patient until he received permanent care.

The University of Utah was contacted for transfer. They had the ability to take care of the patient, but there was no way to transport the patient there. A severe storm had affected roads, and no ambulance, helicopter, or fixed-wing aircraft could come to Evanston for transport.

At this point, members of our local medical community stepped up. Our local crew offered to brave the roads and drive in the ambulance with this patient to the University of Utah. Mind you, the patient had extensive needs with a breathing tube, breathing machine, IV infusions of blood products and the need for management of other necessary medications. Those who traveled to Utah with this patient included Angie Foster, RN; Chris Brinkerhoff, CRT; Don Bodine, EMT-I; Don Casper, EMT-I; and Byron Martinez, EMT-B.

The patient made it to the U of U, spent several days in the ICU and has now made it home. This group of people sacrificed their Christmas Eve to save a life. They were under no obligation to go. The roads were horrible, and no emergency services from Utah would come. So, members of our hospital, and Uinta County EMS, traveled the perilous roads because it was the right thing to do.

I’m grateful to be associated with people like this. I don’t often talk about what it’s like to provide emergency services. But, when you are faced with the life or death of another person, there are a flood of emotions. After stopping the bleeding and stabilizing this patient, I was crushed to learn there was no way to help him get to the U of U for further care. Those of us on call can’t leave the area. That’s part of what made the sacrifice of the group that traveled so significant — they weren’t on call, and they went on their own time without obligation.

I can’t express how thankful I am for Angie, Chris, Don, Don and Byron! They braved the storm when others wouldn’t. They sacrificed their Christmas Eve for another. I will never forget Christmas that year. I will never forget the people who truly showed what Christmas is about. They refused to allow someone to be turned away from the proverbial inn. These are the kind of people we have in Evanston. Regardless of religion, this is what Christianity is about. I’m honored and humbled to work beside people like this.

Thanks again!
Dr. Jared B. Barton

“Caring is our calling at Evanston Regional Hospital,” says Cheri Willard, CEO, RN. “We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure our patients get the care they need. Healthcare works best when it is local, working specifically to solve issues important and relevant to our community. You can count on Evanston Regional Hospital every step of the way. Thank you to our staff and the EMS crews who go above and beyond for our patients on Christmas Eve, and every day of the year.”