For all that he has given the community and accomplished during his 40 years with the Granite Falls Hospital and Manor and Affiliated Community Medical Centers (ACMC), some sort of ostentatious, firework- laden, grand affair would not have seemed over-the-top for Dr. Darrell Carter.
Instead, friends, colleagues, co-workers and patients came together on July 18 to recognize the doctor within the humble setting of the ambulance garage. There they shared a humble lunch and presented him with a humble plaque.
For such a humble man it was perfect. Because, really, what gift is grand enough for a man who has given all but everything?
As has been his life-long custom, Dr. Darrell used the occasion held specifically for him as an opportunity to shine a light on everyone else.
"It has certainly been an enjoyable journey," he told the few dozen on-lookers. "All of you have been a part in multiple ways and just seeing you and just kind of reminiscing in my mind over the last hour, it has been a very productive journey for all of us involved in health care in our area that has been made possible not because of me but because of all you.
"... It's really the team," the doctor continued. "What we teach and what we do is purely the team––not any one of us. And it shows up over and over again how without all of you all pulling together, we couldn't accomplish medically what we do in this community by any other means."
It was the pleasure of Granite Falls Hospital Director of Nursing, Patty Massmann, to provide an introduction for Dr. Darrell, but also the daunting task of trying to convey all of his accomplishments.
"For the past 40 years we have benefited in countless ways that Dr. Darrell has contributed and provided service as Manor Care Director, Director of Trauma Service, Medical Service Director, Cardiopulmonary Rehab, and so on..." she said.
Massmann tried to keep it short but went on to recognize his multiple offices with the medical staff and executive board before delving into his role in the creation of the Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) program more extensively.
If there is a pinnacle of Dr. Darrell's accomplishments it is CALS, a program thats impact on rural medical care cannot be understated.
Much can be said about the program that was introduced in 1996 to account for deficiencies in emergency health care resources, common to rural areas, through the creation of an advanced life support curriculum and unparalleled model for teamwork.
To those outside of the medical field, it is tough to convey how important this program has been to health care with a mere overview of its component parts, as there is no way to know just how many lives it has saved or improved as a result of the practice.
Page 2 of 2 - Nonetheless, those within the medical field are able to recognize its importance and it is why more than 6,800 medical professionals across the country and around the world have completed the program, including more than 300 of the US Department of State's foreign service medical personnel. In other words, it has been implemented world wide.
His contribution to CALS is in large part why Dr. Darrell was named Minnesota Rural Health Hero in 2001, Physician of the Year in 2001 by MN Academy of Family Physicians and Physician of the Year in 2003 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The latter is a recognition bestowed on a single physician from throughout the United States. And that the ripple effects of Dr. Darrell influence would be felt strongly enough to see him recognized on a national stage out of the quaint town of Granite Falls only adds emphasis to what he has achieved.
Others, aside from Massmann, would go on to say a few words about Dr. Darrell noting his dedication to patients, his role as instructor and, again, his achievements with CALS as just a few of the attributes that have made the doctor such an exceptional role model as both a physician and man.