Dr. Deborah Brackett to depart hospital

By David Peck

A popular and well-respected doctor at North Big Horn Hospital in Lovell is leaving the hospital staff she joined just over a year ago to return to her previous practice at the Marbleton/Big Piney Clinic in Marbleton, Wyo.

North Big Horn Hospital District CEO Rick Schroeder said Dr. Deborah Brackett met with him Thursday morning to inform him that she was “going back home.”

Dr. Deborah Brackett, M.D.
Dr. Deborah Brackett, M.D.

Schroeder said he asked if there was anything North Big Horn could do to change her mind and stay but said Dr. Brackett responded, “No, I’m just going back home.”

“How do you compete with somebody who wants to go home?” Schroeder said. “I knew then we had no chance of keeping her.”

“We didn’t realize when we left Big Piney (and Marbleton) how much of a home it had become to us,” Dr. Brackett said. “When they called and asked ‘what could we do to make you come back home (in early December)’ we sat down as a family, talked about it and prayed about it.”

Dr. Brackett said she, husband Bob and her three boys decided that if Big Piney/Marbleton would meet certain conditions – helping pay her student loans, meeting a certain salary level and paying for all moving expenses – they would return.

“They basically said ‘we want you here, the community misses you,’” she said. “I didn’t leave (Big Piney/Marbleton) because I didn’t love the practice. I liked the team there. But I had serious concerns about decisions the hospital board and CEO were making in regard to the health care of the community.”

But in November a new Sublette County Rural Health Care District board of trustees was elected and made “huge changes” in the administration and practices of the clinic and the district is “moving forward in a real positive direction there,” Dr. Brackett said. “I’m really excited about that.”

Dr. Brackett said she has enjoyed her time in north Big Horn County.

“I’ve made some great friends here and the community was very welcoming,” she said. “It’s not a matter of one community over another, it’s that Marbleton is home. I’ve felt welcomed in this community.”

Debbie and Bob Brackett still own their home in Marbleton and will be able to make a seamless return, she said. Her final day in Lovell will be April 19.

Recruiting efforts

Though saddened by Dr. Brackett’s decision, Schroeder said and his staff will work hard to recruit more physicians to the North Big Horn Hospital medical staff.

“I got on the phone with some recruiters and got some resumes from some really good doctors,” he said. “We’re still working with a Wyoming native about coming, we’re looking at someone currently in the military and there’s a female doctor from Utah who is in residency in Pennsylvania.

“We’re going to mourn the loss of Dr. Brackett, but we’ll do everything we can to replace her and keep appointments going and do what we can.”