St. Claire HealthCare (SCH) is proud to announce the addition of emergency medicine physician Benjamin Mattingly, MD, to its medical staff.
Growing up in Morehead, Dr. Mattingly never planned to become a doctor. He had considered becoming a professor like his father, but medicine certainly wasn’t in his plans.
“I didn’t really like hospitals growing up … I didn’t like the way they smelled,” he said.
Somehow his wife, Jenni, a physician assistant, got him to reconsider medicine. She suggested he shadow a few physicians to see what it was all about. He got past the ‘hospital smell,’ took her up on her advice, and found himself on a career path that would lead him to the highest peaks in the world, but more about that later.
“I discovered I liked the challenge of being able to relate to people and take care of them in their most vulnerable state, especially in the ED,” said Mattingly. “When you see patients in the ED, they didn’t choose you, and they don’t want to be there. You have about five minutes to make someone feel comfortable and to trust you with their care, and you can make a huge difference in their life.”
Dr. Mattingly completed his bachelor’s degree at Morehead State University in 2000 and went on to earn his medical degree from the University of Kentucky in 2004.
For his residency, he wanted to try something new, so Dr. Mattingly and his family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts where he planned to complete his emergency medicine residency at Baystate Medical Center, then return home to Kentucky. Turns out they loved the area so much, he continued his work in one of the busiest ED’s in the Northeast and in his spare time, served as the team physician for the local American Hockey League team, the Springfield Thunderbirds.
A couple of years later, a new opportunity arose … in New Zealand. The young couple had always craved adventure and dreamed of living abroad. So when an opportunity arose to work overseas for a year, they were all in.
“I had seen advertisements for working in New Zealand and my wife and I had always wanted to take our kids overseas for a year (at that time ages 6, 9, and 15),” said Dr. Mattingly. “So, I went into work and asked if I could leave for a year to go to New Zealand, and just like that, the planning had begun.”
During his year as an attending physician at the Southland District Hospital in Invercargill, New Zealand, Dr. Mattingly discovered his passion … wilderness medicine, a side of medicine many don’t realize exists.
“Wilderness medicine was a new thing then, only one or two fellowships in the country,” he said. “When I went to New Zealand I teamed up with a few local doctors and was able to help them teach the first advanced wilderness life support courses outside the U.S.”
After an amazing year of backpacking over 300 miles, rock climbing, bungy jumping, taking a catamaran around the Fiji Islands, and scuba diving off the coast of Australia, the family returned home to Massachusetts and Dr. Mattingly quickly began developing his own wilderness medicine program at Baystate.
Wilderness medicine quickly became a growing part of the Mattingly family’s life. In addition to establishing one of the few fellowships in the country, he and Jenni founded Wild Med Adventures, LLC. They turned adventure tourism into adventure education by offering exciting, yet challenging medical education courses ranging from fly-fishing in Montana to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
“We love meeting new people, traveling, and medicine. Starting our own company combined our careers with our passion,” said Mattingly. “I think when you find things that you enjoy, it works its way into your life.”
Through Wild Med Adventures, Dr. Mattingly truly has reached the highest peaks in the world. He has summited Mt. Ranier, Aconcagua (tallest mountain in the Americas), Volcan Orizaba in Mexico (highest in Mexico), Tajumulco in Guatemala (highest peak in Central America), Carstensz Pyramid (highest mountain in Australasia), Kilimanjaro (highest peak in Africa), the highest mountain in Europe - Mt. Elbrus, and Mount Vinson in Antarctica.
It’s been quite the journey for Dr. Mattingly and his family, to say the least.
After years working in a fast-paced trauma center, and having experienced more adventure than many of us can even imagine, Dr. Mattingly made his way back to his hometown of Morehead and began his latest adventure as an emergency physician at St. Claire Regional Medical Center.
(provided by St. Claire HealthCare)