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Jefferson, NC 28640

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Ashe Memorial Hospital medical director and emergency room physician Dr. Brent Rody typically completes 15 clinical shifts a month, the majority of which are spent at Ashe Memorial.

Emergency Room physician relies on good old fashioned medicine to provide quality care when patients need it most

There's no such thing as an ordinary day in the emergency room.

No matter how many times Dr. Brent Rody rounds through the department, there's still an element of uncertainty.

The emergency room is unpredictable.

He never knows who is going to come through the door or how the day is going to progress. One minute the department can be eerily calm and the next it can be a whirl of activity with ambulances pulling in and out of the bay and patients arriving in need of medical care.

Over the course of a 12-hour shift anything is possible.

In the emergency room, time is of the essence, and from the moment his shift begins at 7 a.m., the Ashe Memorial Hospital medical director and emergency room physician is tasked with assessing and treating each patient that comes through the door.

"I like the fast-paced process involved in emergency medicine," says Dr. Rody. "There's a lot of variety. I like seeing the acute patients and being able to work a patient up and see what's going on."

A native of Oklahoma, Dr. Rody knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career that would allow him to combine two of his passions: science and human interaction.

Dr. Rody studied pre-medicine at the University of Oklahoma before earning his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in 1987. He then went on to complete an emergency medicine residency, earning his board certification in the specialty.

"Physicians always enjoy the best of both worlds -- interacting with and taking care of people," says Dr. Rody. "The patients here appreciate the good work that you do and let you know when you see them. That makes it more worthwhile."

As an emergency room physician, Dr. Rody has seen a wide variety of injuries and ailments, but the moments that stand out are the ones where the most obvious diagnosis isn't necessarily the correct one.

Whether it's a repeat patient who had been treated 36 times for reflux with a GI cocktail before an elevated heart rate presented itself the 37th time around or a patient complaining of upper back pain that eased slightly once pressure was applied, it's those instances where you are grateful that you landed on the right diagnosis that are often the most rewarding. In the case of both patients, trips to the cath lab led to the eventual detection of a myocardial infarction or heart attack, and ultimately saved their lives.

"There are times when you make diagnoses that you are kind of thankful for and you feel lucky and blessed that you made the diagnosis," says Dr. Rody. "You have those moments where you look to the heavens and thank the Lord for helping you make a good diagnosis."

Dr. Rody began working at Ashe Memorial Hospital six-and-one-half years ago through the hospital's partnership with Apollo MD. As a regional director for Apollo MD, Dr. Rody is responsible for directing Ashe Memorial and also works clinically there and at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Rody typically completes 15 clinical shifts a month, the majority of which are spent at Ashe Memorial.

"This ER can get busy," says Dr. Rody. "When you have 14 to 16 patients that you are taking care of and are really sick, it can be very challenging because you want to make sure they all get good care."

But Dr. Rody's work is not limited to treating patients over the span of 12 hours. There's also the red mask he'll sport off and on throughout his shift in support of American Heart Month or the radio broadcast he'll participate in to help raise stroke awareness within the community.

Most importantly, there are the future physician assistants he helps train over the course of their five-week clinical rotation. Dr. Rody teaches two High Point University students at a time with the goal of helping better prepare them for when they are one day tasked with seeing patients on their own.

"I enjoy teaching and the students really enjoy the rotation and the patient population up here," says Dr. Rody. "The number one thing I tell my students is to do a good thorough exam of the patient. That's just good old fashioned medicine. It's important to take a great history, do a great physical exam and don't take shortcuts and simply rely on tests. That hands-on touch still applies today."

When he's not busy treating patients in the emergency room, Dr. Rody enjoys playing golf in the mountains and spending time with his wife, Cindy, who was also his high school sweetheart, and their three children: Ryan, a golf professional and the director of instruction at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., Tyler, a lawyer, and Amber, an artist.