Unity Hospital designated as Ebola treatment location

Allina Health’s Unity Hospital in Fridley was designated as one of four Minnesota hospitals to treat patients with Ebola should any cases arise. (Coon Rapids Herald photo)

[Coon Rapids Herald, Oct. 30, 2014] Under a new statewide strategy to care for Ebola patients, Unity Hospital in Fridley has been designated one of four hospitals to treat patients should any cases arise.

The Minnesota Hospital Association announced that hospitals and health systems from around the state have developed a coordinated strategy to care for Ebola patients in Minnesota.

Under the plan, all hospitals in the state will continue to be prepared to detect, isolate and initially care for suspected Ebola patients. Should a case of Ebola be identified, the patient will be treated at one of four designated hospitals. Read the whole story at abcnewspapers.com.

First responders ramp up for possible Ebola cases

Allina Health EMS first responders received training Tuesday on Ebola protocol. Here, Pete Cheolis, left, and Jake Shepard learned how to cocoon potential patients by wrapping them in a plastic sheet to contain any bodily fluids. (Star Tribune photo)

[Star Tribune, Oct. 29, 2014] As national, state and local leaders debate quarantines and other measures to combat Ebola, Twin Cities first responders have ­quietly introduced new protocols and reinforced existing ones.

Allina Health Emergency Medical Services, which provides ambulance service to thousands of people in suburban and rural parts of the state, has repackaged protective gear and is following the latest guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brian LaCroix, president of Allina Health EMS, said: “It’s taking the appropriate precautions, but precautions based on science, not hysteria.” Read the full story on startribune.com

Twin Cities hospital gives tour of Ebola unit

[KARE-TV, Oct. 28, 2014] Unity Hospital in Fridley is one of four Minnesota hospitals designated to care for Ebola patients. It’s all part of the state’s coordinated strategy to handle the virus if it arrives here.

On Tuesday, Unity Hospital officials gave KARE 11 a tour of the rooms where patients would stay. Watch the story here.

River Falls Area Hospital sets up Ebola protocol

River Falls Hospital emergency room nurse Ashley Svacina

River Falls Hospital emergency room nurse Ashley Svacina checks out an Ebola kit. The kits hang in all five emergency room bays and five overflow bays. (River Falls Journal)

[River Falls Journal, Oct. 23, 2014] Walk into the River Falls hospital, the clinic or take a ride in the River Falls ambulance, and you’ll be asked two questions:

  • Have you traveled or been exposed to someone who has travelled to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea?
  • Do you display certain symptoms?

If the answer is yes, you’ll be escorted to a room, put on a mask and then have to answer more questions to see whether the patient is an Ebola risk.

Read the full story online at riverfallsjournal.com.

Minnesota hospitals, health officials say they’re well-prepared for Ebola

Star Tribune photo

Star Tribune photo

[Star Tribune, October 4, 2014] A patient checked into Unity Hospital’s emergency room with a fever this summer and then said five ominous words: I just returned from Liberia.

The Fridley hospital immediately enacted a public health protocol — isolating the patient, restricting access to caregivers wearing protective garb, and notifying specialists at its parent organization, Allina Health, and the Minnesota Department of Health.

A doctor soon discovered the patient had malaria, not Ebola, but the incident signaled the heightened state of readiness at Minnesota hospitals as they prepare for the deadly virus that has devastated parts of West Africa.

“Everybody is on the watch,” said Dr. Wendy Slattery, medical director of infection control for Allina Health, who said the episode gave her confidence that her hospitals are prepared for a real Ebola case.

Read the rest of the story at startribune.com.

His heart gaining strength, can he lose the implant?

Star Tribune photo

Star Tribune photo

[Star Tribune, Sept. 30, 2014] Blake Brunner is one of the first patients to be evaluated for an “explant” at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. A final decision might come this week. And two other patients are lined up behind him.

“Pretty much any heart should show some signs of recovery” when given the opportunity to rest, said Dr. Benjamin Sun, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Abbott. “In retrospect, it probably shouldn’t surprise us.”

Read the rest of the story at startribune.

KARE-TV photo

KARE-TV photo

[KARE-TV, September 24, 2014] More than 300 survivors of polio gathered in the Twin Cities to learn more about the lasting effects of the disease and remember the revolutionary woman who helped them fight it.

The Courage Kenny Foundation organized the reunion of polio survivors the daylong event, “Life after Polio: Realities and Practicalities” on Thursday, Sept. 18. See the story at kare11.com.

Medical writing you don’t need to be sick to read

Bowron_Craig_2013_web[Today's Hospitalist, September 2014] Abbott Northwestern Hospital Hospitalist Craig Bowron, MD, is well aware of the storied tradition of physicians who are also writers; his Twitter handle, after all, is #billcarlosbills.

But readers of Dr. Bowron’s Huffington Post blog or his health care articles on Slate and in the Washington Post might liken him more to Dave Barry than to Atul Gawande, MD. That’s because while his subjects can be serious and his (judicious amounts of) data impeccable, he leavens most topics with a great deal of humor. (See “Ask your doctor if you’re healthy enough to have sex?”).

Read the article at todayshospitalist.com.

Race is on to find fix for faulty heart valve

Lesser_John_web[Star Tribune, September 15, 2014] A minimally invasive alternative to open-heart surgery has become a competitive battleground for devicemakers who are racing to get new products into the market.

Open-heart surgery is still the preferred method of fixing a faulty aortic valve, but TAVR devices can be delivered to the heart through a small catheter tube snaked through an artery in the leg or chest.

Today the procedure is available only to patients with a high or very high risk of death from open-heart surgery, but industry boosters say it’s only a matter of time before the minimally invasive procedure is available to patients at moderate risk of death, potentially opening up the procedure to a wider patient market.

“I think it is realistic,” said Dr. John Lesser, a cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, which is a center for multiple clinical trials for TAVR devices. “I do think that in the longer term, probably the majority will be placed in the leg or in a small incision.”

The entire story is at startribune.com.

‘Heart of New Ulm Project’ Wins National Award

KEYC-TV photo

KEYC-TV photo

[KEYC-TV, August 19, 2014] New Ulm celebrates national recognition of its effort to eliminate heart attacks.
The Heart of New Ulm Project won a 2014 Nova Award from the American Hospital Association last month.

New Ulm Medical Center president Toby Frier, and Minneapolis Heart Institute project director Jackie Boucher, and Congressman Tim Walz were among the many celebrating the program’s success.

Dietitian, Rebecca Werner, said “You know it’s really great. Being from the community knowing what we do has a measurable outcome on our family members on friends and to be in a community like New Ulm and to see this happen is really, really great.” Watch the story on keyc.com.