Rural health care has never meant more to ranchers John and Dixie until their own granddaughter was bleeding out in their house.
A simple trip downstairs to grab pop for lunch became a devastating journey for the Buer family, when four-year-old Molly slipped on her blanket and severed an artery in her arm. What started as a chance for the young girl to help her grandmother prepare lunch turned into a hectic search for towels as they tried to stop the bleeding.
Since the Buer family lives over 20 miles away from the nearest health care facility – Horizon Health Care’s Bison Community Clinic – Dixie knew they needed to act fast. They climbed into their car and started on the trek toward Bison. John called the clinic ahead of time to let them know of the emergency.
“[Dixie] was holding her and trying to get her talking, but Molly was starting to fall asleep,” said John.
Once they arrived at the Bison clinic, John and Dixie realized how much they appreciate having rural health care in their area. Without the Bison staff wrapping Molly’s arm and getting her stable, the family wouldn’t have made it to the hospital.
“You don’t realize how much you need them until you get into a pickle like that,” said Dixie. “To have that confirmation and knowledge, even if it’s still an additional 20 miles for us, it’s still important to have it there.”
From Bison, Molly and her family travelled in an ambulance to Hettinger, North Dakota, then in a helicopter to Fargo, North Dakota, before taking a plane ride to Minneapolis. What was expected to be a 40-minute surgery in Minneapolis, turned into a 5-hour surgery where they repaired the severed artery on Molly’s elbow.
“I guess nobody knew how bad it was until we were already there,” said Dixie. “You just don’t know what you’re working with.”
While Molly has a scar from her injury, she’s bounced back to the bright, energetic young girl she was before.
“Now she does everything that she ever did before and doesn’t complain about any pain,” said John.
“She doesn’t even milk it,” said Dixie. “She’s just on the go!”
While the Bison Community Clinic was still a drive away for the Buer family, overall Molly was stabilized until she could reach a hospital thanks to the rural access to care and the assistance provided by the local clinic team.
“We can get unappreciative because we’re not using the clinic on a daily basis, but what people don’t realize is our cell service is low,” said Dixie. “We have all kinds of age groups out here. That clinic targets a lot of age groups. You go from broken arms to strokes to everything in between. No matter what the problem is, when you need them, they’re there.”