Meet our Docs: Kate Score, M.D., joins Cole Creek Primary Care in East Casper
By Kristy Bleizeffer Jan 27, 2020
While it’s not a medical philosophy per se, Kate Score, M.D., tries to imagine herself on the other side of the doctor-patient relationship.
“Everyone says this, but I try to put myself in my patients’ shoes. If I was where they were, and I had a confusing diagnosis or whatever was going on, and I was scared, what would I want to hear?” she said.
“I would want to hear honesty from my doctor, and the complete truth of what was coming. But I would like the news delivered as gently as possible – whether the news is good, bad or otherwise.”
Dr. Score is beginning her family practice at Cole Creek Primary Care, a new practice at Wyoming Medical Center East Campus. Cole Creek joins the network of Wyoming Medical Center primary care clinics that stretch across Casper, serving people where they live and work: Mesa Primary Care in the west and Sage Primary Care in the center of town. Douglas Primary Care opened in Douglas in January.
Dr. Score practices family medicine, and she has a special interest in women’s health. She welcomes patients of all ages.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in rural Elgin, Nebraska. It has about 750 people, and I am related to almost everyone in town. My parents were into farming and early childhood education. My dad was a helicopter mechanic and he did a little bit of engineer work, but that was kind of on the side. I am kind of the black sheep of the family.
Why is that?
Both my brothers are Black Hawk pilots.
Oh, wow. So, you’re just a measly doctor.
Well, you would think so with my family. I joined the military when I was 17 because I thought that was what everyone did when they were 17, at least in my family.
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I was in the Air Force Reserves for about 11 years. I got out recently while I was in residency because it is hard to do both. I was a medic in the Air Force and there wasn’t really anything that kind of drove me to medicine honestly. In the military as a medic, it just means you are essentially a glorified LPN (licensed practical nurse). You can do certain things like stitches and chest tubes, which is crazy, because in the real world you cannot do any of that unless you are a physician.
I was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base outside of Dayton, Ohio. They had med students and residents there, and it was a huge learning opportunity. They took me under their wing. I learned that physician assistants always had to go back to the physicians to get the answers, and I just wanted to cut out the middle man and do it myself. So, that was essentially the push for medical school. I didn’t want to have to go through two to three people to treat patients. Honestly, looking back now, if I have a question in clinic that I’m not sure about, I will call another physician and get the answer. So, it’s kind of the same thing, but that is good to have that collaboration.
Tell us about your medical training.
I went to college in Chadron and to medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. I did my residency in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and then a colleague of mine in the military called me and said they needed help out in the Black Hills, so I went to Hot Springs to start my practice.
I met my fiancé out there, and he was in Colorado at the time, and we got engaged and moved to Casper.
Was it important to you to stay in relatively rural areas to practice medicine?
Oh, for sure. I find that rural people are a little easier to relate to, and you are able to get your point across without stepping on toes. I don’t know, rural people just seem more genuine to me, and they will work with you instead of telling you what they want. You know, they kind of dress up to come to clinic and treat you with respect.
You have a special interest in women’s health. Tell us about that.
You know, when I was a medic, I was the only female on a lot of times. We were in the ER and a woman came in with a miscarriage, and I kind of followed her through the entire process. Everyone was just on eggshells about it. I thought, well, she was not on eggshells. Why don’t we normalize this? Then, I took a break to go to the bathroom, and she was asking, “Where is Kathryn Score?”
Then, when I got to residency, I tended to attract a lot of women patients. Pregnant women, people who either had STDs or they wanted to go on birth control but they didn’t know how to go about it. You know, people are really uneducated on women’s health in general. People are just very uncomfortable about broaching the subject. Luckily I am very blunt, so I have no problem with making the subject more comfortable and having an open discussion.
What brought you to Casper?
My fiance and I were trying to figure out where to go. He is an environmental engineer and was involved in coal, oil and gas. He worked in Douglas for a while and in Mills. He was in Colorado at the time and really wanted to get back to Wyoming.
He is originally from Nebraska, but for the same reason I liked rural populations, he likes people from Wyoming. After we moved here, our neighbors came over and brought us bread and jam. We wanted to raise our kids in this kind of environment, so he got a job with Anadarko in Douglas and we moved to Casper.
What have you learned so far about kind of the medical community in Casper?
Everyone is very open and very friendly. Dr. (Andy) Dunn was giving me a tour and I met all these specialists that, at other institutions, I would have to say, “Oh, hello sir.” Well they said to call any time. It was very friendly and very open.
I was kind of surprised by the number of specialists that we have in Casper, because in my mind Casper still seemed pretty rural. I came from a university hospital, and it has a similar number of specialties. It is definitely easier to practice medicine with level of expertise. If I need to, I can always get on the phone with someone.
Is there anything in Casper you are excited about?
I used to be very outdoorsy, but then I got into medical school. I would like to get back into that. My fiance is super into fishing. I have heard about the Miracle Mile from everyone I talk to, so we are excited to do that in the summer. And we’d like to explore the trails.