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?”).

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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.”

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‘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

Unity Hospital giveaway keeps Park Terrace kids active

Unity_ParkTerraceGiveaway[ABC Newspapers, August 15, 2014] Last month, employees of Unity Hospital in Fridley collected outdoor activity supplies to donate to kids in the Spring Lake Park School District to keep them active for the remainder of the summer.

During a two-week drive, Unity employees donated 163 basketballs, hula hoops and other outdoor toys for kids enrolled in the Park Terrace Elementary School summer program in Spring Lake Park. Read more at

Construction at Mother Baby Center at Mercy topped off

Photo by Sue Austreng

Photo by Sue Austreng

[Coon Rapids Herald, August 15, 2014] Adorned with signatures and messages of goodwill, the final beam of The Mother Baby Center at Mercy was lifted into place during an Aug. 12 “topping off” ceremony at the hospital.

The ceremony marks a milestone in the construction process for the facility, a $30 million initiative due to open next summer.

“But it’s not just about a facility. It’s about the team doing the work, the employees, the physicians, the people providing the care,” said Sara Criger, president of Mercy Hospital, adding that once The Mother Baby Center at Mercy is up and running, “what we offer here will be like nowhere else in the north metro.”

Read more at abcnewspapers.

Leaders praise Heart of New Ulm program

Mankato Free Press photo

Mankato Free Press photo

[Mankato Free Press, August 19, 2014] Local health care and political leaders on Tuesday celebrated a New Ulm project that recently won a national award for its achievements in improving community health.

The Heart of New Ulm project received the NOVA award in July from the American Hospital Association. It was one of five projects to receive the award. The 10-year project is a collaboration of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and New Ulm Medical Center.

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Heart of New Ulm helps residents fight heart disease

HONU_MPR[Minnesota Public Radio, August 16, 2014] When her weight crept past 300 pounds last year, Denise Leitz, of New Ulm, Minn., knew something had to change.

Her clothes didn’t fit. Airplane seat belts weren’t long enough to reach around her waist — and she was always in pain.

“I would drop something on the floor and have to crawl to it,” Leitz said. “I mean it was horrible to be like that.”

Leitz, 56, decided to change her life by participating in the Heart of New Ulmproject, a 10-year effort that aims to eliminate heart attacks in the community.

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Health beat: Signs of success for the Heart of New Ulm project

0521_HBB_FINAL_STACK_LORES[Star Tribune, August 15, 2014] Denise Leitz says Adrian Peterson almost ended her journey to better health.

When AP dropped a key pass in a Vikings game last fall, Leitz biked from her house in a huff and fell and broke her hand.

Her plan to bike her way to a healthy weight crashed with her. But if the 56-year-old convenience store clerk learned one thing from the Heart of New Ulm — a community project to reduce heart attacks and cardiac deaths in Leitz’ hometown — it is that setbacks aren’t reasons to give up.

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Researchers to parents: Put down that cell phone

[WCCO-TV, August 18, 2014] Parents are well aware of the downside of kids spending too much time on their electronic devices texting or playing games. But what about the negative effects of parents doing the same thing?

New research shows that kids are very aware of how much time their parents are spending on their smartphones when they are with them. Experts say it has kids feeling angry and sad.

“It is difficult when a parent is not present in a child’s life. It is more difficult if the parent is present, but not really present,” said Dr. Cheryl Bemel, a psychologist at the Allina Health West St. Paul Clinic.

Wheelchair Softball World Series opens in Brooklyn Park

Star Tribune photo

Star Tribune photo

[Star Tribune, August 15, 2014] The 2014 Wheelchair Softball World Series opened Thursday in Brooklyn Park, featuring 14 teams from as close to home as the Twin Cities and as far away as Japan.

Todd Anderson Field, Minnesota’s first wheelchair-accessible softball field for competitive play, is the main site, with games also being played at two other fields. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health, is hosting the tournament. Read more at