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Oil Patch Code Blue 1: There's the Pager

North Dakota’s non-stop oil boom has made lots of people rich. Some ranchers are millionaires, a few oil bosses are billionaires and lots of working people have more money in their pockets than they used to.

But those riches haven’t come without a cost.

As the boom exploded with drilling rigs, frac crews, and oilfield workers of every kind, the number of on-the-job deaths has jumped to record highs. Traumatic injuries on roads and job sites have also skyrocketed.

Here’s one example: Trauma admissions at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson have increased from 81 five years ago to 208 last year. Some of those patients arrive via ambulance from Killdeer, a boom town north of Dickinson.

In the first of a four-part series on injuries and deaths in the oil patch, Black Gold Boom reporter Todd Melby spent a day with the Killdeer ambulance crew.

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