The Rosebud IHS hospital is the primary source of health care for more than 12,000 members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. A 35-bed comprehensive medical/surgical hospital, the Rosebud IHS Hospital offers a full range of services, including dental, vision, and 24 hour ambulance services.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Rosebud Indian Reservation to meet with hospital staff and the people they serve. I met with an emergency room doctor, who told me how they are using technology to improve access to care through telemedicine. I met with nurses who expressed their dedication to the patients, and I met with hospital administrators who talked about ongoing efforts to improve and maintain the quality of care delivered at Rosebud IHS hospital.
During my visit to Rosebud, I learned about the true sense of community the patients feel at the hospital. One of the best conversations I had was with Tonya Whirlwind Soldier, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. I interviewed Tonya at the local high school where she is the cross-country coach. She told me that she began receiving care at the Rosebud IHS Hospital when she was a young child. She also gave birth to her first child at the hospital. The Rosebud hospital is a big part of the community, she said. “You can go there and visit I don’t know how many people. You’ll be waiting in the waiting room and your uncle, your auntie, your cousins, grandmas, everyone comes though. Everyone uses and accesses Rosebud IHS.”
Tonya was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in 2015. She is now battling stage four liver and colon cancer. She can’t afford health insurance, so she accesses all of her medical care through IHS. Having IHS is a relief and takes a lot of stress off, she said.
Tonya also said that the community nature of the hospital has assisted in her care. “Having people there that know what’s going on and what I need, having that relationship with most of the people there, I’ve gotten good care. It’s awesome.”
To hear more from Tonya about her experience, watch the interview below.