News, President's Corner|

Todd O'Hair President and CEOMy Dad is an active rancher on a multi-generational ranch in the Paradise Valley. To describe him as being “tough” would be an understatement. Two months ago, at the young age of 80, Dad was bucked off his horse. After coming to, he “walked it off” and got back on and rode home.

Last week, Dad started to slow down, struggled to get out of his chair, and lost his sense of balance. On Tuesday, September 7th, he was taken to the hospital where they diagnosed him with a bilateral hematoma – essentially, his brain was bleeding and creating pressure on his brain that affected his motor skills. Surgery to release the pressure was necessary.  

That afternoon, doctors began searching for a qualified hospital to perform the surgery. Montana has several outstanding hospitals, and the medical staff is exceedingly qualified to perform this surgery, but at 10:00pm, Dad was airlifted by the Billings Clinic flight crew to Denver – the nearest hospital with the capability and the capacity to take on a complex case like Dad’s.
Montana’s hospitals are at or over capacity. New COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations are putting so much strain on the local health care system that some hospitals are rationing care and implementing “Crisis Standards of Care” protocols. That means healthcare providers have to make decision about how to save the most lives by allocating or reallocating ventilators, ICU space, or when resuscitation efforts are appropriate.
We should all be proud of Montana’s healthcare system. It’s tops in terms of care, personnel, and available treatment. And with the COVID resurgence, it’s becoming increasingly unavailable for emergency cases like Dad’s.
Dad is fully vaccinated and has never contracted COVID-19, but he’s an example that “personal responsibility” doesn’t end at your shadow’s edge.
My personal story is a reminder to all Montanans to please get vaccinated. Take precautions that limit contracting and spreading COVID.
Respect our medical professionals by taking the steps necessary to reduce the spread.
Thankfully, Dad’s surgery went according to plan, and he is recovering in Denver. I just wish he was recovering in the 406.
Find out where you can receive the vaccine in your community, please visit

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