With a family history of heart disease, Mike Powers has been proactive about seeking out doctors to help him navigate his health and risk factors through the years. Until recently, that meant Mike traveled to Rapid City or Billings for any kind of treatment. A Gillette resident for more than 40 years, Mike sought medical help elsewhere for much of that time. Even when his wife gave birth, they traveled to a neighboring community for the delivery.
"There's always been a thing where you worked here, but you doctored out of town," Mike said. "I always had the idea that the bigger the operation, that people would be more professional."
But after struggling with an irregular heart beat and high blood pressure, Mike found himself first at the Campbell County Medical Group Walk-in Clinic, then at the hospital's
emergency room and finally in the office of
Dr. Sairav Shah, FACC. As he made his way through those various departments, Mike came in contact with a number of people and said he was impressed by the experience, especially with Dr. Shah, who helped Mike understand exactly what was going on with his health.
"My experience in Rapid City and Billings was not as good as Gillette by a long shot," Mike said. "I like the doc (Dr. Shah). I wanted to know the facts and he told me the facts. It takes me a while for everything to soak in, but he helped make what was happening with me clear."
Being straight forward about patients' health concerns is something Dr. Shah emphasizes in his practice. Whether he's meeting with a mechanic, a coal miner or an engineer, Dr. Shah said he likes to provide health information in a way that each of his patients understands.
"We want them to have a good visit," Dr. Shah said. "I try to put everything in terms that people understand. I try to understand everybody as much as I can."
Specializing in cardiology, the information Dr. Shah provides to patients can be extensive and overwhelming. Because many times heart issues can be life threatening, there's also an emotional element that Dr. Shah said is important to address with the patient.
"It's really important to me to get to know the person," Dr. Shah said. "I try to understand what their objectives are for their health and I try to be sensitive to their emotions. I want them to be healthy."
For Mike, the meeting with Dr. Shah was honest and open. Now Mike has a series of follow up tests in the next month including an EKG and
sleep test. He'll follow up with Dr. Shah in June with the hope of having a better diagnosis and results to determine what's causing his high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, and how to treat it. At this point, Mike said he feels like Dr. Shah has heard him and is working to find the health answers Mike wants to know.
"I didn't want him to sugar coat things," Mike said. "You want the best you can get for the money you pay, and I receive that in Gillette with Dr. Shah."
Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer