The number of patients who pass through the door at Trinity Hospital's Emergency Trauma Center in Minot has grown extensively over the past 10 years.
For eight of those years, since 2003, Dr. Jeffrey Sather has been the medical director of the center, and saw the numbers rise from 20,900 a year in 2002 to 33,500 a year, in 2010.
Sather is definitely no stranger to the game of trauma. Before becoming a doctor, he was a young volunteer paramedic in Velva.
James C. Falcon/MDN • Dr. Jeffrey Sather is the medical director for Trinity Hospital’s Emergency Trauma Center.
He was originally a volunteer firefighter in Velva, but through acquaintances of his who were affiliated with the ambulance service, Sather switched to the other side. That was in 1979. He remained there for two years before taking a paid position with Community Ambulance in Minot, where he remained until 1986. In the meanwhile, he started nursing school at the Trinity School of Nursing, but he did not complete his training.
From 1986 to 1989, he managed the ambulance service for the Care Community Hospital in Yakima, Wash. He received a call from Greg Anderson, with Community Ambulance, asking Sather to return to Minot to serve as its clinical coordinator. He obliged, and returned to Minot and served in that capacity for four years. During that time, from 1990 to 1994, he attended Minot State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in psychology.
While Sather enjoyed the classes, he said he liked the studies rather than the idea of taking care of patients in that manner. Shortly after graduating, he went back to school, this time attending the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and graduated as a doctor in 1998.
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From there, he went on to the emergency medicine residency program at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. In 2001, Sather came home to Minot for good. It was then, in July of that year, that he joined the staff at Trinity as the medical director of emergency medical services. Since 2006, Sather has worked as staff emergency physician at Heart of America Medical Center, in Rugby. He is also Trinity's eCare Physician liaison and chairman of the Department of Medicine.
Sather has also served on various committees relating to trauma in the region.
"It's kind of been a focus to be an advocate - and to be an advocate, you have to be involved," he explained, noting that those committees include the State Trauma Committee, as well as chairman of the North West Regional Trauma Committee. "One of my passions is emergency care, in particular in rural areas."
Then, in the summer of 2003, Sather retained his current role as medical director of the hospital's trauma center.
Trauma, Sather explained, is synonymous for accidents, be it major injuries sustained in car or industrial accidents. With the growing number of car accidents and other forms of incidents in the region, it is no surprise that Trinity's trauma center is the busiest in the state.
Sather estimates that the number of patients who come into the trauma unit will surely double.
"Next year, we'll have doubled our numbers in 10 years," he said, comparing the numbers from 2002 and 2012. He said that the emergency room is expecting about 40,000 visitors to come through it in 2012.
A 10 percent increase per year could be expected, Sather said.
"Every year, we're seeing 2,000 to 3,000 more patients," he said, reasoning that the numbers are going up because of the influx of residents to the region. Patients from as far as eastern Montana and Devils Lake are funneled into the system in Minot, he added, so the population increases all over, not just in the Magic City, are affecting the volume.