Patient & Visitor Guide Patient Stories


Brady is a young boy who has had multiple open-heart surgeries. His parents live on a ranch that has been in their family for 105 years. The care provided by Monument Health Buffalo Clinic enables them to stay on their ranch in Harding County.

“That’s why we feel comfortable still living out here in this remote area. They’ve proven to us that they’ll be here for Brady whatever happens.”

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During an ATV excursion, Cody sustained a life-threatening head injury. When the Monument Health Lead-Deadwood Hospital ambulance team arrived, they found him lying unconscious, the overturned ATV several feet away. Cody spent 23 days in the surgical intensive care unit. Today, he is on the road to a full recovery.

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When Dixie’s mother, Lucy, became terminally ill, her family had plans to make her comfortable at home as long as possible. One morning, when Lucy felt very ill, the family decided to take her to the Emergency Department at Monument Health Sturgis Hospital, where she was transferred to a hospice suite.

“Every day we were working toward the goal of taking her home with us, and that didn’t happen,” said Dixie. “The hospice nurses and staff were amazing. They took care of our mother and they took care of us.”

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“I had been having a lot of hip problems. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when I would need both of them replaced,” Greg said. “Dr. Miller looked me in the eye and said recovery’s two to four weeks, probably closer to two. I said, ‘sign me up’!”

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Kim lived through a heart attack, CPR, defibrillation and surgery to remove a large blockage – all in one day.

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Leslie’s acid reflux prevented him from sleeping. Even eating a single piece of chocolate would cause his stomach to “erupt like a volcano”. Dr. Andrew VanOsdol operated and gave Leslie a Linx device – a magnetic bracelet – that stopped his acid reflux.

“I would definitely say that he saved my life,” said Leslie. “I no longer have to exclude myself from family events. I can eat spicy foods, chocolate… My children love to share their candy with me.”

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Ray thought he had heartburn, but he had severe blockages in his arteries – upward of 90%. Even at rest, he wasn’t getting enough oxygen to keep his heart alive. Thanks to Dr. Drew Purdy, Ray can now enjoy hiking all over the Black Hills.

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“During the Buffalo Roundup, I didn’t feel very good. When it was over, I packed up my tools and drove to the Custer Clinic, where they told me I was having a heart attack,” said Phill.

Joy Falkenburg, M.D., a family medicine physician, saw Phill immediately when he was brought into the Emergency Department. “There were several times where Phill thought he fell asleep, but he was actually flatlining, or in other words, he died for a short period of time,” explained Dr. Falkenburg.

The Monument Health Custer Hospital team stabilized Phill and transferred him to Rapid City Hospital for cardiac intervention. Phill has since made a full recovery.

“When I was able to come back and thank everyone for saving my life, that’s the most memorable moment. And I’ll never forget that,” said Phill.

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Wooil was born at 23 weeks’ gestation and clinging to life. He spent seven months in the NICU and 15 months in the PICU, where he and his family experienced good times and bad.

Wooil and his family are from South Korea and moved to South Dakota shortly before he was born. During their time in the NICU and PICU there was not only a language barrier, but challenges posed by adapting to medical terminology. These hurdles were met head on by Monument Health, who provided the resources and restored the confidence to let the parents be mom and dad.

Wooil is now 4 years old and has a tracheostomy that allows oxygen-rich air to reach his lungs and enables him to be at home with his family. Wooil and his family often plan outings, such as playing at the park, going out to lunch, and playing with other kids his age.

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In his first game of the season, Zane, a Belle Fourche High School junior guard, sustained a devastating knee injury. “I tore my ACL, MCL, PCL (knee ligaments), meniscus, and fractured my kneecap,” said Zane. “I thought my leg snapped in half, so I didn’t look down. I was really scared.”

Ray Jensen, D.O., a sports medicine-trained orthopedic surgeon, was taking in the game with his family and left the stands to evaluate Zane on the sidelines. The relationship that developed between patient and surgeon has led to a successful knee reconstruction, putting the teen on the road to recovery.

“This is the first major injury I’ve ever had. I was surprised how bad it hurt, but I knew I was in the right hands,” said Zane. “The recovery has been painful, but Dr. Jensen has always been there through the whole thing. I was very glad Dr. Jensen was at that game.”

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