BOSCOBEL - After more than 40 years of service to the Boscobel area, Certified Nurse Anesthesiologist (CRNA) Dick Beinborn will retire from Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics on August 5.
“I went from being a student one day, to an independent practitioner the next,” Beinborn said. “I began at a small hospital in Lake City, Minnesota. I was used to a surrounding with many anesthesia hands and transitioned to a small hospital where I was the only set of hands. That was a real eye opener,” he said. “Over the next 40 years I have been the solo person wherever I work. There are not a lot of anesthetists that can say they went from being a student to independent practice their whole career. That is a very unique thing.”
Beinborn attended kindergarten through senior high in Boscobel before attending Viterbo University in LaCrosse where he earned a degree in nursing in 1976. Beinborn worked a year in the intensive care unit (ICU) in Rochester, as it was a requirement before starting anesthesia school. Beinborn attended St. Francis Mayo School of Anesthesia in LaCrosse from 1977 to 1979.
“When I was in nursing school, I had being an anesthesiologist in the back of my mind as something that I wanted to do,” Beinborn said. “I was a resident assistant (RA) at Viterbo, and the person who was in charge of the RA’s was a Franciscin nun, Sister Fran. She asked me what I was going to do after graduation, and I said that I was going to work in the ICU unit and eventually go to anesthesia school. She knew the director of the school I attended really well. I think that I would consider that now as divine intervention,” Beinborn chuckled.
With that connection, Beinborn was able to continue his schooling at St. Francis Mayo School of Anesthesia. “I was not going to disappoint Sister Fran” he said. “I worked very hard to make it through anesthesia school and it set me up well for my solo position for the rest of my career.”
Service to Southwest
After practicing in Lake City for four years, Beinborn moved back to southwest Wisconsin and began practicing where he grew up.
“Marilyn Krogen, my ex-family neighbor for many years recruited me to come back to Boscobel to work,” Beinborn said. “My oldest son at the time was two years old and we ended up moving back to the area and lived in Lancaster in 1983. I worked between Boscobel, Darlington and Lancaster hospitals. I also filled in at Platteville and Galena, Illinois. I was a traveling anesthetist and very busy,” Beinborn laughed.
Ten years later Beinborn decided that it was time for change and ended up moving to Prairie Du Chien, but continued to work in Boscobel.
“Boscobel was still my primary responsibility, but I also worked in Prairie Du Chien, Guttenberg and Elkadar,” Beinborn said. “As of recent, I downsized and only work in Boscobel and Elkadar. With that, I no longer have any obstetrician (OB) responsibilities. We do not deliver babies at either hospital. So, now I am not up one or two nights a week and no longer suffer from jet lag because I have been up all night with a patient that needs an epidural,” he said.
Working with “Legends”
In 40 years, Beinborn has worked with about 25,000 patients, by his count. Some of them were neighbors or friends—and some of them became friends.
“The early years I knew a lot more people because I grew up with the families over the years. My first 18 years I knew almost everybody in town with my dad being a milkman,” he said. “As years have gone on, there have been a lot of people who have moved to Boscobel,” he said. “I have so many people who I have called ‘frequent flyers’ because I have seen them or members of their families on numerous occasions.”
And when it comes to the doctors whom he worked alongside, Beinborn has a deep emotional attachment to them—“legends,” is the term he uses. He mentioned several, including Doctors Randall, McNamee, Mueller, Fast, Heersma, Wilhelm II, Kelertas, Rademacher, Soriano, Bintz, Ruiz, Yurcek, Kramer, and Crawford, as well as specialty surgeons Chestelson, Groskreutz, Riley, Petrashek, Jacobs and Londergan.
“They were all so exceptionally supportive of me.”
One of the most important was his friend and mentor, Dr. Roger Rademacher.
“Within the first couple of months of my arrival in Boscobel there was a pregnant mother who needed a C-section,” he said. “None of the usual surgeons could come and perform the procedure. Someone suggested calling the ‘new guy’ in Prairie Du Chien, Dr. Rademacher. We had a healthy baby and mother, and the rest is history. Dr Rademacher and I worked the next 26 years in Southwest Wisconsin and Northeast Iowa until his untimely death on January 17, 2009,” Beinborn said. “Not a day goes by when his name does not come up in conversation around the hospital. He was my Michael Jordan.”
He also became close with the nursing staff, and in particular mentioned Carolyn Miller as a stellar example.
“I have the utmost respect for nursing assistants. They are the first line of patient care and work their tails off,” he said. “There are a lot of people that have strived to meet her years of experience and all of us have failed. My 40 years looks pretty minute when compared to her 50. She began working at the Boscobel hospital when she was in high school. She is the greatest of all time here in Boscobel.”
Beinborn wants his patients to know that everything at the hospital will be in great hands with his departure. Beinborn’s son Charlie will be taking over his father’s position with the help of his partner Jenn McClimon. Beinborn added that both McClimon and his son are dedicated and will provide the same care that he did over the years. Beinborn also expressed that Boscobel is so lucky to have such a nice hospital.
“There are so many people that I have worked alongside,” Beinborn said. “I could not name them all without leaving someone out.”
Most of all, over the roughly 40 years that Beinborn has been a CRNA he is extremely thankful for his wife Annie and his family. “Raising a family on a CRNA’s schedule is not easy because at a snap of a finger I might have to leave and be ready for surgery,” he said. Beinborn’s other son Benny followed his father’s footsteps into the medical field as a clinical educator for Abiomed.
As for Beinborn’s plans after retirement, he hopes to do some fishing, play some pickleball, vacation with his wife and spend time with his new puppy and his granddaughter.
“I have been blessed to have found my dream career and to eventually find my way back to serve the people of the Boscobel area for nearly 40 years,” Beinborn said.A celebration of Beinborn’s career was held on Thursday, August 11 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Boscobel Bowl and Banquet. Cards can be sent to “Thank You Dick” 205 Parker St. Boscobel, WI 53805.