On a recent early morning, the air smelled crisp and fresh, and the sky was clear and blue following a day of rain that seemed to perk up every element of vegetation. My two dogs, my wife and I were walking our favorite trail above the Hospital when we rounded a corner in dense vegetation and were greeted by a very large cow moose. We retreated back from whence we came in an orderly but rapid fashion with a sense of profound good fortune to have seen such a magnificent animal from a safe distance. We also understand that, in nature, we are not in charge, and the encounter could have been a dangerous one.
Nature’s law always prevails over our preferences and expectations. Whether it is a sudden summer shower and plummeting temperatures, a wildlife encounter, or a stray root and a twisted ankle, we have to accept the risks anytime we leave the pavement to enjoy the majesty and splendor of our mountains and our trails.
We are fortunate in our community to have a host of highly capable rescue and medical services that are here for us when our outdoor encounters leave us in a bind. Mountain Rescue and the Aspen Ambulance District, with the intense training and skills of each, work together and involve any additional resources necessary to safely extract patients and provide the emergency medical care outdoor adventurers require. In some cases, our AVH Trauma team, always ready, will be activated before the patient’s arrival to the Hospital.
Of course, when our outdoor adventures involve gravity, as they so often do, there is always the risk of broken bones and other orthopedic injuries that our partners with The Steadman Clinic are ready to fix. Whether patients choose to be treated at Aspen Valley Hospital, or at the new Steadman Clinic location in Willits, you can be assured of receiving the most advanced procedures available. In fact, in the 18 months since our partnership started, our community and our visitors have overwhelmingly embraced and trusted the Steadman Clinic surgeons to provide excellent care and perform historic numbers of surgeries.
In this issue, you will hear from the newest member of our Aspen Valley Primary Care team, Dr. Rahul Shah, about keeping your kids healthy, and from Gabe Muething, Aspen Ambulance Chief of Emergency Medical Services, about simple strategies to avoid injuries while exploring our beautiful landscape. You’ll also find a timeline of the past 18 years of community support and key decisions that have helped to shape our Aspen Valley Hospital Network of Care as it exists today.
We hope you will enjoy your outdoor adventures in the surrounding mountains and on our trails safely, with the right gear (including helmets!), weather-appropriate clothing, and with the confidence that Aspen Valley Hospital, our physicians, and our partners, are ready and very able for when things don’t go according to plan.