In early 2008, Dr. Martin Trott announced to his partners at his private practice in Cleveland, Ohio, that he was leaving the group after 14 years. A month after departing, he opened the doors to his new medical practice in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Twelve years later, in 2020, Dr. Trott remains the only otolaryngologist in Jackson Hole.
Explore This IssueJanuary 2021
Dr. Trott and I met in a fortuitous way. My husband and I love to ski, so last year we went to Jackson Hole on vacation. We ended up eating dinner one night at a delicious, local hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant where the tables are so closely packed together that you can’t help but share the meal with the strangers sitting next to you. Naturally, my husband and I started chatting with the couple seated at the table beside us. When they learned I was an otolaryngologist, they said, “Surely you must know Marty, the only ENT in Jackson!” I was struck by the idea that a whole city could have one single otolaryngologist—more than that, they were on a first-name basis!
In truth, Jackson does feel like a small town. The airport is one gigantic room—there are no terminals. And when you land, you walk out onto the tarmac and straight into the single room that is the airport. For a city with such vast mountain ranges and national parkland, it’s incredible to discover it truly is a small town.
Dr. Trott completed his residency training at the Cleveland Clinic in 1994. After his training, he was recruited to join a private practice with four other otolaryngologists on the west side of Cleveland. Together, they proudly built a busy medical practice that, in addition to five otolaryngologists, ultimately included two sleep laboratories, a CT scanner, two allergists/immunologists, and a thriving surgery center. Dr. Trott was in the 95th percentile for productivity year after year. He worked incessantly, completing 80 thyroidectomies, 30 parathyroidectomies, countless tonsillectomies, and even stapedectomies. But his work-heavy lifestyle also took a heavy personal toll: He hardly saw his three children.
It was during this period of overwork and burnout that Dr. Trott happened to see an announcement in a newspaper that an otolaryngologist in Jackson Hole was selling his private practice. As it turned out, the otolaryngologist had been trying to sell the practice for five years, but without success.
“Growing up in Western New York, I would never in a million years have thought I would end up living in Wyoming,” said Dr. Trott. “I didn’t even know where Wyoming was! Fifteen years ago, I don’t think I could have picked out Idaho, Iowa, and Montana on a map. And now, obviously, this part of the world is my home.”
I ended up reaching out to Dr Trott, and we had a marvelous, hour-long conversation. He’s filled with energy and passion for his life and work as an otolaryngologist. This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.