Article contributed by Kathy Zeigler
Dr. Ernest Ceriani was a graduate of Loyola Medical School, and served his internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver. In 1942, he married a nurse, Bernetha Anderson, and joined the Navy, serving until 1946. He began a surgery residency in Denver, but was unhappy with city life, city medical practice and its politics. He came to practice in Kremmling in 1947, working for the Middle Park Hospital Association.
The Association had purchased the home of the previous doctor to remodel and serve as a hospital; it employed 2 nurses as well as the young doctor. The doctor was general practitioner, seeing patients in office, hospital, and home, often as far away as Grand Lake. He was as self-sufficient as he could be, developing his own X-ray films, for example, as a cost saving measure. Medical practice for an isolated doctor was challenging. Consultation with other physicians was difficult if not impossible and keeping up with medical journals was daunting.
“Doc” Ceriani was dedicated to his community and to his practice, often returning to the hospital or going to an accident site to treat illness or injury when he had planned to take some leisure time. The community depended upon him to listen to their recitation of symptoms and make sound judgments in the art of healing. Their “Doc” was not just a medical corporation putting patients through procedures--he was a highly dedicated professional in the world of medicine. He truly cared about his community and its members.
Life magazine honored him with a large article, which covered, in depth, the challenges of practicing medicine in such an isolated area. From childbirth, to ranch injuries, to treating the tourist who suffered from altitude sickness, the article showed the American public the human side of this very dedicated physician.
“Doc” practiced until 1986, in Kremmling, retiring at the age of 69. He died two years later.
Of Things Medical in Middle Park, Grand County Historical Association Journal, vol. XIV, no. 1. 1997