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SHERIDAN — After 35 years of practice in Sheridan, Dr. Timothy Scott has announced he will retire as of Dec. 31. Scott, 65, came to Sheridan in July of 1978, and he estimates has delivered more than 5,000 babies at Sheridan Memorial Hospital.
He said it was the charm of a small town near the mountains that convinced him to join a practice of two other obstetricians when he finished medical school at the University of Colorado in Denver.
“We were going on a trip through Sheridan via Billings and Bozeman,” he said. ‘I had interviews in all three places, but I never got past Sheridan.”
While Scott, who originally hailed from Ohio, had considered being a family doctor at one time, he wanted to treat patients both in a private clinic and in a hospital. That, along with seeking to provide long-term treatment to patients, steered him to the field of obstetrics and gynecology.
“Obstetrics is generally a happy time, compared to a lot of things in medicine that are not happy,” he said.
In those days, Sheridan’s coal mines were in full swing, and Scott estimates at one point, he and his team of doctors were delivering as many as 650 babies a year, as they were seeing patients from Gillette, Buffalo and Crow Agency. Though the economy changed drastically as the mines slowed down and other communities got improved health services, Scott stayed on and ultimately became the owner of the Women’s Clinic of Northeast Wyoming. He said he couldn’t have done it without help.
“Through the years, I’ve built up a core of people who have been just amazing,” he said.
“We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had a large turnover. The main, core people have been the same for years and years. That’s a tremendous benefit when you’re trying to run a business. I’ve been lucky.”
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Becky Olson, has worked with Scott for more than 25 years.
“I couldn’t have done it without her,” Scott said. “She has helped build this practice as much as I have. I give her equal credit for maintaining a viable practice for this many years.”
Scott has also worked with Registered Nurse Liz Becking for almost 15 years.
While Scott’s team has remained largely intact, the medical field has gone through substantial changes.
“The things I remember coming to town were that fathers were not allowed in the delivery room,” he said. “My own daughter was born in ’81, and I had to stand outside the operating suite and look in. The nurses would not let me in the operating room. I worked hard to get that changed, and we finally did. It was took a matter of changing some of the thoughts of the personnel involved at that stage.”
Scott said that wasn’t the only women’s healthcare issue that needed be changed.
“The current Women’s Center did not exist. There were rape victims showing up in the emergency room that were not being treated in a concise and legal fashion,” he said. “This hurt their cases later.”
Scott helped to establish what is known today as the Women’s Center and developed a policy for better treatment and evidence collection for rape victims.
Scott said he was also the first non-hospital-based doctor to use and ultrasound machine for prenatal visits.
Through the years, women’s health and medicine have changed. Scott said he sees patients in Sheridan following national trends: more unmarried parents, more obesity and older people trying to conceive.
“Infertility was a relatively small part of practice in the late 70s, and it’s become a fairly substantial portion of any ob/gyn practice today.”
In preparation for his retirement, Scott sold his practice to SMH last year and the name of his practice changed to Wild Rose Women’s Clinic. He said the decision to sell was his best option to ensure his patients’ records were maintained.
“I have well over 10-12,000 patient charts. Those charts have to be cared for in a very specific fashion. The hospital seemed to be the best choice to allow for chart maintenance to occur after I retire,” he said.
Scott said he also hopes to make the transition as easy as possible on his employees.
“If I just quit, they wouldn’t have a job. What we worked out with the hospital is that they will — as best as possible hire as many of my staff as they can. That makes me happy.”
Scott indicated in a letter sent to his patients announcing his retirement that Olson will transition to seeing patients at the Sheridan Women’s Clinic based out of SMH with Drs. Lawrence Gill, Gregg, McAdoo and Rebecca Franklund. The SWC will then become the only provider for prenatal and women’s health services in Sheridan.
Scott said the building that houses his clinic will be either sold or leased.
Scott said he and his wife plan to remain in Sheridan and enjoy his retirement spending time with his five grandchildren.