Special to Delta County Independent
Delta County Memorial Hospital’s (DCMH) Grand Mesa Oncology, Hematology and Infusion Center is excited to welcome its newest physician, Ann Hedderman, M.D. to the team. Hedderman specializes in hematology, the study and treatment of blood diseases, and brings more than 20 years of experience and a background in rural healthcare.
Hedderman is from upstate New York and attended medical school at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics before practicing medicine in Indiana. Originally planning to become a thoracic surgeon, Hedderman was drawn to the rapidly expanding field of internal medicine.
“After deciding not to go into surgery I did a Hematology rotation [during my medical internship] and am fascinated by blood diseases,” said Hedderman. “It’s exciting to see the new sets of targeted therapies happening for diseases that previously didn’t have treatment options. Being in this field of medicine right now is a unique and exciting time.”
Hedderman is excited to bring her expertise to the community of Delta County and to be able to offer hematologic care that is close to home.
“I really like the idea of working with patients who come from more rural areas,” said Hedderman. “When I was in Iowa I got to work in a small hospital as one of my rotations and I really liked that a lot. Just because someone lives in a small town doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to access quality health care.”
Hedderman’s upstate New York roots, where it is mostly dairy farms and vineyards, sparked her love for rural healthcare. Part of the appeal, she said, of smaller communities is that she gets to know her patients on a more personal level and is able to spend more time with them during appointments.
Hedderman’s approach is to focus on the whole patient. She said she likes to understand what is going on in a patient’s life and family to know exactly where they’re coming from. When working with sometimes complex diseases and diagnosis, Hedderman likes to ask her patients what their understanding of the disease is.
“I ask them why they are here and start from the beginning,” said Hedderman. “I believe in a lot of education for patients, and I spend a lot of time drawing pictures to show them what’s going on and to break down everything they need to know. I think that’s important.”
Hedderman believes that as a physician it is her obligation to go to whatever extent necessary to give patients the care that they need. She said one of her favorite quotes says: “When I learned the awesome responsibility of other peoples’ lives, I learned to be more confrontational.”
“It’s not in my nature to be [confrontational] but if you have to do what you have to do to get a patient taken care of,” said Hedderman.
Hedderman is joining the Grand Mesa Oncology and Infusion Center team with Dr. Dorinda Rouch who has been at DCMH for roughly three years. The two are colleagues and friends with a similar patient-care philosophy.
“Dr. Rouch is incredibly smart and is really one of the best physicians I have ever worked with,” said Hedderman. “When you have someone you respect in medicine it is great to bounce ideas off each other. To have that comradery with someone you trust — I think — is key.”
When not working with patients, Hedderman enjoys swimming, reading, enjoying the outdoors and cooking. One of her goals is also to become multilingual in Spanish, French, German and Italian.
“For me, working in this field is an incredible privilege,” said Hedderman. “To see what people can endure is sometimes mind blowing. My patients teach me about life and they inspire me. Throughout my career I have remained amazed at the people I meet because they’ve taught me so much through how they’ve dealt with their disease. I have this philosophy that everyone has a story to tell, and it’s just getting at what their story is.”
Hedderman is currently accepting new patients. To make an appointment please call 970-399-2895 or visit deltahospital.org/grand-mesa-oncology-and-infusion.