St. Luke’s Wood River has hired Dr. Derek Ipsen, a doctor of osteopathic medicine specializing in hand surgery, to its team of orthopedic surgeons.

Ipsen is based at St. Luke’s Clinic—Sun Valley Sports Medicine, in the hospital complex south of Ketchum.

Ipsen recently retired as a colonel in the Army, a news release from St. Luke’s states. His military education and career took him around the world, taking care of people in a variety of settings, including field trauma—such as gunshot wounds and burns—incurred in combat. He often handled orthopedic issues and surgeries, eventually focusing on elbow and hand surgery, most recently at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He has volunteered with Shriners International, helping people in need of medical care in the Pacific Islands and in Haiti, the news release states.

Ipsen became interested in medicine at an early age, while growing up on a farm in rural Idaho. That interest started when his high school football coach, who was also his biology teacher, took his class to see a cadaver. From life on the farm, he was already familiar with fixing things that were broken.

“When machinery would break, we had to fix them quickly and get back to work as soon as possible,” he said. “When I saw that cadaver, I thought seeing how things worked together in the human body was the most incredible thing ever. I enjoyed the work on the farm, but this became my calling. It was the same principles.”

He did his first work on hands during his residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I wanted to learn how to fix the tiny, intricate structures that made up the hand, since it is so important to people’s occupation, livelihood and everyday life,” he said.

Ipsen is accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call 208-726-5027.

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