Dr. Trettin: Returning Home as a Healer

Dr. Tettin

Lompoc Valley Medical Center: Hospital Emergency Department physician Dr. James Trettin acknowledges that his father’s career might have had some influence on his own decision to pursue medical school.

The late Dr. John Trettin was a revered Lompoc orthopedic surgeon, Cabrillo High School football team coach and dedicated marathon competitor. His son would often accompany him to the Emergency Room at LVMC, while he set fractures and affixed casts.

In 2000, when his son was 17, Dr. Trettin was killed at the age of 46, cycling through Germany on vacation.

Despite having a role model so close to home and his heart, the younger Dr. Trettin attests that his desire to become a physician goes back into his early childhood when he would say he wanted to be a doctor.

He had a detour first, earning a business degree and starting a career in finance at Santa Barbara Bank and Trust after college.

“I got drawn back to medicine,” said Dr. Trettin, a 2000 Cabrillo High School graduate.

Orthopedics wasn’t his calling, however.

“People in the ER say ‘That name sounds familiar,’ or they had my dad operate on their knee 20 years ago,” Dr. Trettin said. “I always joke with the patients, ‘He set a good standard and I hope I don’t ruin it.’”

He works primarily night shifts in the Emergency Department, while his wife, Dr. Lee Silkman, sees patients at LVMC: Physician Services. They are the parents of two young sons.

“Everybody here is phenomenal,” Dr. Trettin said. “It’s been a very easy integration.”

Dr. Trettin prefers emergency medicine because of the pace of the ER. He completed a one-year Emergency Medicine Fellowship at a Level 3 trauma center in Maine.

 “You get to see everybody, from birth to death,” he noted. “The saying is, ‘We see anybody and everybody for any reason, any time of the day.’ You meet a lot of interesting people.”

He said that in the ER, often 90 percent of what physicians do is primary care.

“You never know what’s going to come in at any moment,” he explained. “Somebody could come in with a pretty significant injury or ailment, it’s kind of nice that you can oftentimes, but not always, fix whatever’s making them quite ill. We get them at least pointed in the right direction.”


About the Author

Author: Nora Wallace, Public Relations

Nora Wallace was hired as LVMC’s Public Relations Coordinator in October 2014. She previously was employed as a newspaper reporter for 25 years at the Santa Barbara News-Press, primarily covering North County news. At LVMC, Nora is also responsible for the management of the Blue Coat hospital volunteers. She is a graduate of Santa Barbara City College and earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in journalism from San Francisco State University.

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