Small Town. World-Class Care



Living in a small South Dakota town halfway between two large hospitals, Crystal and Jason Carlson had some tough choices to make.

The Beresford couple was expecting their first child. And deciding where to go for their daughter’s birth was a difficult decision.

“I had some doubts,” Crystal says. “How could a small hospital offer what I could get in Sioux Falls or Sioux City if we had complications? I was totally on the fence about this.”

A medical home

Both expectant parents had grown up in small towns and liked the idea of supporting their local medical center, but they worried about whether a smaller facility could compete with the options available in a larger city. Sanford Vermillion Medical Center would be a convenient location, but would it have the best care in an emergency?

“All it took was one appointment,” Jason says, holding his sleepy little daughter Vanorah Jean against his chest. “We knew in about 10 minutes that we didn’t need to go anywhere else.”

Meeting family medicine physician, Dr. Mary Jo Olson, the couple quickly realized that they had found the doctor they wanted to deliver their baby. She made them feel instantly comfortable, joking about whether their baby would inherit Jason’s height or Crystal’s smile.

From the hospital’s calming memorial gardens to the friendly staff that greeted them by name, they knew they had found their daughter’s birthplace. They even enjoyed the medical center food, they say, sharing a smile.

“There’s no hectic at all to the place,” says Jason. “It was right for us.”

A family invited

On the day that their daughter was born, the couple drove a just few minutes to the medical center. As Vanorah Jean was delivered via cesarean section, all four of her grandparents arrived to meet their newest family member.

From down the hall, the first-time grandparents all watched Jason walk straight out of surgery, the new baby in his arms. Dr. Olson waved all four grandparents into the labor and delivery room to watch nurses measure the baby’s weight, height and vital signs.

“Even in the middle of the night, none of them had trouble getting there,” Crystal said. “We were close enough for everyone to come.”

The positive experience didn’t end with childbirth for the Carlson family.

In the five months following their daughter’s birth, medical emergencies have brought the family back to their local medical center several more times. Every time they’re further convinced that the care they’ve received just minutes from home is something they know and trust.

Coming back for care

Just five weeks after they left the Vermillion medical center with their new daughter, Crystal was readmitted to the hospital with gall bladder issues that would lead to several further surgeries. They returned this summer with their new baby, who was hospitalized with a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.

Each time, the hospital staff knew them and their history, remembering the details of their visits before. Dr. Olson gave the family her contact information and even returned calls from vacation, checking on the mother and baby’s conditions and advising Jason how to handle his wife’s fever that spiked unexpectedly after her return home.

As Jason wheeled his wife once again through the medical center’s memorial gardens, they joked about seeing if they could take some of the beautiful flowers home to plant around their own house.

“Everything was easy to navigate and they took care of everything for us,” Jason said. “People couldn’t have been any nicer.”

For the couple, each self-employed, being able to take care of their medical needs without leaving their businesses behind, was also a huge plus. Crystal, who runs a beauty shop, and Jason, a plumbing and heating contractor, were able to stay close to home and communicate easily with customers.

The couple says they feel lucky to have world-class care, plus small town friendliness, without having to leave home.

“A hospital stay is not something anyone wants to experience, but we know that we have a great place when we need it,” Crystal says. “And it’s just minutes away,” adds her husband. “Who would have known?”

Posted Date: September 2011

Small Town. World-Class Care

Crystal and Jason Carlson picked Sanford Vermillion Medical Center for the birth of their daughter because it was close to home. What they discovered was a local medical center where each family member received exemplary care.