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The Aipperspachs: Making WHC their Hub

“A lot of people have stories like mine,” Carla Aipperspach stated after recounting the numerous times her family has been treated at the Wishek Hospital and Clinics. For Carla, wife of a cattle rancher, mother of four and owner of Wishek Drug, the WHC has come through in both life-or-death and more common health situations. It was the well-established patient relationship Carla had built with the WHC that set her up for the emergency care she received that cold winter day in 2007.

Your local provider is the hub on your wheel.  They need to be able to see everything.  The more information they have about you, the better.

The temperature was below zero when Carla hit an ice patch and rolled her Buick on a dirt road just outside Wishek. The car flipped corner to corner, shattering the glass and jamming her driver side door. “I told the ambulance crew I was okay and could crawl out, but they wouldn’t let me,” Carla chuckled, recalling her stubbornness. Once they got to the Wishek Hospital, they couldn't find a scratch on her and an X-ray showed no broken bones, but the providers knew something wasn't right.

Her husband, Lee, said she was as white as a ghost. “Some of the nursing staff told me later they thought I was going to die, just by looking at me,” said Carla. They raced her to Bismarck by ambulance. When she arrived at St. Alexius, a CAT Scan showed her spleen was cut nearly in two and she was suffering from severe internal bleeding. There was no choice but to do surgery that day to repair her spleen. Carla says it would have been a much different outcome if the WHC and Wishek Ambulance had not been in existence. “Lee would have gotten me out of the car and we would have gone home,” she said. “I would have bled to death and there is no way I would have known.”

Carla emphasizes it's the care the Aipperspachs receive for the day-to-day medical problems that has been the backbone of their family's health and has also given an advantage when emergencies hit. “They're not just a first-aid station, they are here to take care of the whole patient,” said Carla. “Not using our facility for every day needs puts us at risk. If you’re only going here because of major things, (the WHC staff) cannot easily see the whole picture of what’s going on with you.”

It was a local provider whom Carla sees regularly that encouraged her to visit the Wishek Clinic after seeing her limp around the drug store. Carla gave in, reluctantly, but is glad she did because they discovered a torn ACL and MCL in her knee due to a recent skiing accident. Her surgery was followed by weeks of physical therapy from the WHC PT's. “They made sure I could do everything I needed to do for my job,” said Carla. “My knee is actually stronger now than before the accident!” She requested her surgeon at St Alexius send her medical records to the WHC, “so that they know what’s going on with me,” said Carla. It's a regular practice she initiates when seeing providers outside of Wishek. “Even though the WHC providers are the ones referring you to other specialists and surgeons, you actually have to give our providers access to see your records.” She comments this is an opportunity often missed by patients. “Your local provider is the hub on your wheel. They need to be able to see everything. The more information they have about you, the better,” said Carla.

The rapport the Aipperspach family now has with the WHC began around the same time their family did. It was 1983 when Carla had been in labor for 24 hours in the Wishek Hospital. During labor, her baby was in such distress that the three medical providers performed an emergency C-section. “They saved me and our son,” said Carla. Benjamin was the first of their four children born in the Wishek Hospital. Years later Andrew, their second oldest, was in first grade when he woke up sick one morning. His sore throat turned into desperate gasps for air. The nurses and providers kept Andrew's throat open with medicine while they waited for the ambulance to come from Bismarck with the anesthetist. Carla recalls, “they were there, compassionate, and so good about making sure everything went okay.” Andrew was diagnosed with a bad case of croup and was treated in Bismarck.

These are just a few of the many anecdotes from a family who has made the Wishek Hospital and Clinics their home. From regular check-ups to emergencies, “I know that I can go there and trust the people that I see. I trust them with my children, with my spouse,” says Carla. “They will do their best to get me to where I need to be.”

They're not just a first-aid station, they are here to take care of the whole patient.

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