May 12 2004

[b]Dr. Crandell leaves Kennebec clinic to pursue new career [/b]

Posted by Kim
By Nicole Choal

After 23 years providing health care for the people of Lyman and Brule Counties, Dr. Michael Crandell is moving on to pursue a different aspect of his medical career. June 14, 2004 will be his last day providing care for patients at the Mid-Dakota Clinic in Kennebec, Mid-Dakota Hospital and St. Joe's Indian School both in Chamberlain.
Dr. Crandell graduated from the University of Vermont Medical School in 1976. He completed his internship and residency at Albany Medical Center in Albany New York. After his residency, Dr. Crandell came to South Dakota in 1979 to work with Indian Health Service, first in McLaughlin, SD then in Chamberlain.

In 1981 Dr. Crandell began his long-standing affiliation with Mid-Dakota Medical Center after Mid-Dakota established a clinic in Kennebec. The people of Kennebec, concerned about the need for a clinic in town rose $10,000 from a walk-a-thon in which several citizens collected pledge money and walked from Kennebec to Chamberlain. For five years Dr. Crandell worked for Mid-Dakota, then from 1986 to 1992 he owned the clinic and ran it independently. He then sold the practice and the clinic back to Mid-Dakota and contracted with them to be the primary provider.

Along with being the Family Doctor at the clinic in Kennebec, Dr. Crandell also provides care for children and staff at St. Joe's Indian School in Chamberlain. He is on medical staff at Mid-Dakota Medical center as well as St. Mary's Hospital in Pierre. He has served as Medical Director of the Mid-Dakota Long Term Care Facility since 2000, and Medical Director of Mid-Dakota's Hospice Program since 1995. Crandell became a certified Medical Director of Long Term Care in December of 2003. Taking care of patients at Kennebec and Chamberlain has kept Dr. Crandell busy over they years, but he has never been as busy as the first day he lived in Kennebec. That initial day he had 24 phone calls!

Watching the children he has taken care of grow up and then having the opportunity to take care of their children and in a way help to raise them, is one of the things that has brought great joy to Dr. Crandell. "It is interesting to see how the generations of families I have taken care of relate to each other, and how the children I have taken care of now relate to their own children." Detecting potential problems early and having the patient have a good outcome is another pleasure Dr. Crandell has had as a physician here. Conversely, with that of course, comes the sadness of having someone you have cared for over the years pass away. "I have also enjoyed participating in the spiritual life of the community while preaching to various churches in their pastor's absence."

Dr. Crandell and his wife Barb have rented an apartment and will be moving to Sioux Falls at the end of June. On July 1st Dr. Crandell will begin serving as Medical Director of Sioux Valley Health Plan, an insurance company owned by Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System. Overseeing the medical aspects of the health insurance plans will be his primary duty as Medical Director. He is currently driving down to work at Sioux Valley on Fridays. Being involved in the Long-term Care Facility in Chamberlain is still important to Dr. Crandell, as he will drive down once a month to continue his job as Medical Director.

Dr. Crandell and Barb have a daughter, son-in-law, and new baby, Trenton, in Reliance which they will miss seeing on a regular basis; their other children Patrick and Mathew live in Lincoln, Massachusetts and Phoenix, Arizona respectively.

Dr. Crandell and Barb are both looking forward to the new employment and cultural opportunities that a larger city has to offer. "I loved my job, but it is time for a change," said Dr. Crandell, "I want to do something different."

Dr. Crandell has seen four generations of this writer's family through joyous occasions such as births, to heart wrenching ones such as deaths. He has guided us through conceivably frightening medical situations and put up with our numerous trips in "just to check". We, along with many others in the community, will be greatly impacted by Dr. Crandell's absence, missing the medical as well as emotional guidance he has provided us throughout the years.

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