Page 1

3 Coordinated care

4 Surgical services

6 What else are you

discovers hidden cancer

continue to expand at hospital

getting from that energy drink?




N o r t h f i e l d H o s p i ta l & C l i n i c s

FamilyHealth Winter 2011 • Vol. 16, No. 1


FamilyHealth Medical Clinic offers heart health screening FamilyHealth Medical Clinics in Northfield and blood pressure check; and height/weight measureLonsdale are offering free heart health screenings on ments. All of the data will be compiled and reported dedicated days in February and March. back to participants so it can be shared The screenings will be available by with their primary medical provider. Heart Health Screening: appointment in Lonsdale on WednesParticipants will also receive important Lonsdale • Wed., Feb. 16 day, Feb. 16, and in Northfield, also by educational materials with tips on how Northfield • Tues., Feb. 22 and Tues., March 1 appointment, on Tuesdays, Feb. 22 and to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. A light 6:30-8:30 a.m. by appointment March 1. Hours will be from 6:30 a.m. breakfast will be provided. to 8:30 a.m. Advanced registration is required. The screening includes a fasting blood draw To make your appointment in Northfield call 507tested for cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides; a 646-1494, in Lonsdale 507-744-3245.

Physicians recommend these strategies to help prevent heart disease: • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products; • Get active. Adopt a regular exercise regimen; • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Build your diet around foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt and rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products; • Maintain a healthy weight. • Get regular health screenings.

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Too much, too soon, too fast erodes families By Scott Richardson Kids are getting too much, too soon and too fast. Just ask William J. Doherty, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. Today’s harried, hyper-competitive culture of excess is severely challenging families to find the balance necessary to raise healthy children, he said in a presentation last fall at St. Olaf College. Parents are more involved than ever before, but they have assumed the role of recreation director on a cruise ship, shuttling kids back and forth to their activities at the expense of family time. “We suffer from the defects of our virtues,” he said In today’s culture, individual schedules come first, Dr. Doherty said. He cited research that found over the last 30 years extra-curricular activities for children have increased while unstructured time and family time have both waned. Family time takes a back seat, and couples’ time really takes a back seat. The result? Forty-one percent of kids say they are stressed out most Doherty of the time. Dr. Doherty encourages parents to assert their leadership within their households. The love and limits of authoritative parenting are critical, but parents also need to become leaders and social critics. “We have to model, but we must be explicit about our values,” he said. Today’s parents need to understand the influence of their actions and words. And they need to reclaim the moral authority that too often is surrendered to a cultural tide that does not honor families. “You make decisions about TV time,” he said. “You make decisions about TVs in the bedroom.” If parents are more intentional about the choices they make for their children, Dr. Doherty maintains, they can restore the balance kids need to thrive. For more information on Dr. Doherty and his views on parenting and family go to his website at http:// Scott Richardson is a member of the board of directors for the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative.



Coordinated care discovers hidden cancer Not many people are grateful for a pinched nerve. But Duane Sellner is. It’s what propelled this 53year old Farmington man to make one of his infrequent visits to the doctor at FamilyHealth Medical Clinic in Farmington. And it’s what led to discovering that he was walking around with renal cancer. “It’s a blessing I had that pinched nerve,” Sellner said, looking back on his medical journey. “It if hadn’t been for that, I would never have gone to the doctor.” The doctor is Alice Suchomel, MD, or “Dr. Alice” as Duane calls her, a family physician at FamilyHealth Medical Clinic. She directed his care, coordinating the diagnostic imaging he received at Northfield Hospital and the referral to a urology specialist who sees patients in the Northfield FamilyHealth Medi-

Duane Sellner

cal Clinic. Duane is now one of her biggest promoters. “She is the greatest,” he volunteered. Duane came to Dr. Alice because of a sharp pain in his right hip that radiated down to his ankle. When physical therapy didn’t improve his condition, she sent Duane to Northfield Hospi-

tal first for an MRI and then a CT scan. That’s when three cancerous spots on his kidney were identified. The urologist, Karl Kemberling, MD, with Urology Associates, performed the surgery, removing the entire kidney. Now Duane is back on the mend and committed to three years of follow-up with Dr. Kemberling. And guess what? The pinched nerve is resolved. No one knows for Dr. Suchomel certain if it was related to the cancer, but Duane remembers the waking up from surgery and noticing the leg pain was gone. Dr. Suchomel’s professional services are provided by Cannon Valley Clinic – Mayo Health System. To make an appointment with her, call 651-460-2300.

Bone density scans more accessible at Northfield Hospital Northfield Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging department now provides bone mineral density scans five days a week. The scan is one of the most accurate ways to diagnosis osteopenia or osteoporosis. The addition of a fixed Dual Energy X-Ray Absorbtiometry (DEXA) replaces a mobile service that came to Northfield two days each month. According to Sandy Mulford, director of Diagnostic Imaging at Northfield Hospital, the purchase of the new digital equipment will make this test more accessible and more convenient for patients. “Patients can now schedule their DEXA exam the same day as their annual screening mammogram,” Mulford said, “so they only have to make one trip to the hospital to complete both of these important tests. In addition, patients can coordinate

those appointments with their annual physical.” The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s guidelines recomWhat is osteoporosis? mends the scan Osteoporosis is a condition of decreased bone for women over density due to low levels of calcium and other 65, younger minerals. When this condition is present, bones post menopausal become weak and brittle and can fracture under women who even mild stress. Osteopenia is a milder version have any of the of this same condition. osteoporosis risk Symptoms include: back pain resulting from a factors,as well as fracture or collapsed vertebrae, loss of weight those with specif- over time, a stooped posture and fracture of a ic fractures. Men vertebrae, wrist, hip or other bone. are also at risk for osteoporosis as they age – especially if they have some of the causes of Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.



Northfield Hospital’s surgical services continue to grow Northfield Hospital & Clinics has 20 surgeons on active staff who collectively provide a broad range of surgical services. The core surgical practice includes orthopedics, obstetrics-gynecology and general surgery. Ear, nose and throat and ophthalmology have an active and growing presence here; urologic procedures and podiatry round out our surgical services. General Surgeon Jose Fulco, MD, president of Total Number of Surgical Cases

Number of Orthopedic Cases



the Northfield Hospital Medical Staff, says his goal is for Northfield Hospital’s surgical center to be people’s preferred choice based on the competence of the surgeons and the surgical staff and the quality of the care they provide. “We can collaborate and coordinate with these other providers when the required care is beyond the scope of what we offer.”

Number of General Surgery Cases



Dr. Muench

Dr. Shepley

Dr. Stroemer


Dr. O’Halloran



Dr. Wille


Dr. Jones

Number of ENT Cases

Dr. Fulco

Dr. Nielsen


Dr. Patterson

Dr. Muench

Dr. Novack




mber of YN Cases


Number of Ophthalmology Cases


Number of Surgeons

Number of Same Day Surgery Rooms



Dr. Dixon


Dr. Totorelis

Dr. Twidwell




Dr. Braun

Number of Surgery Suites

Dr. Suppes

Dr. Olson

Dr. Economou


Dr. Cervenka

Dr. Steenblock



Energy drinks pose health risks Watch out for those energy drinks. An occasional can now and again isn’t the worst thing, but there are a number of pitfalls for those who become too dependent upon them. Kristi Von Ruden, RD, LD, a nutrition therapist at Northfield Hospital & Clinics, says energy drinks are high in caffeine and sugar. They may provide a temporary energy boost, but if used too often, they can pose certain health risks. “It’s not the ideal drink for athletes or even for the ‘grab and go’ pickme-up many people are looking for,” Von Ruden said. Caffeine and carbs, the sugar, are the Crack open a can of: dominant ingredients in energy drinks. Caffeine is a known diuretic, and the concentrated –[ nervousness –[ irritibility sugar content can slow the body’s absorption –[ increased blood pressure of water. Excessive consumption can lead to nervousness or agitation, irritability, insomnia, –[ insomnia –[ rapid heart rate rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure and –[ weight gain weight gain. None of these is good. When these drinks are combined with Von Ruden alcohol, they are particularly problematic, Von Ruden says. It can cause a condition called wide-awake drunkenness. The caffeine and sugar interfere with the body’s instinctive desire for sleep if too much alcohol is consumed. Consumers tend to prolong their drinking episode and become more vulnerable to alcohol poisoning. “These drinks are no substitute for healthy eating, regular physical activity and enough rest,” Von Ruden said. “That’s what your body needs.” If you would like to learn more about energy drinks from a nutrition therapist or discuss other nutrition issues, call 507-646-1410 and ask for Kristi Von Ruden or Courtney Eby.

Quite simply, walking works wonders


Human beings were built to move, and walking is one of the most natural forms of exercise. According to Mayo Clinic the health benefits of walking are many. Walking helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the bad cholesterol. It raises high-desnity lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the good cholesterol. It lowers blood pressure, reduces your risk or manages Type 2 diabetes, manages your weight and improves your mood. And it helps keep you fit and strong. While any increase in walking will help promote good


health, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

recommends 30 minutes a day, on five or more days a week, or 10,000 steps daily, to produce the best, long-term health benefits. Mary Ann Scheid, MD, a family physician with FamilyHealth Medical Clinic in Northfield, says the benefit of walking is just a matter of arithmetic. “It’s calories in and calories out,” she said. “A commitment to walking will help restrain the calorie creep. It will help maintain a healthy weight and help you avoid any number of chronic health conditions. Start today.” Dr. Scheid’s physician services are provided by Cannon Valley Clinic – Mayo Health System.


Preparation key to managing emergency events Brian Edwards, manager of Emergency Medical Services at Northfield Hospital & Clinics, has seen his share of crises. From the floods in southeastern Minnesota, Moorhead and Northfield to last December’s anhydrous ammonia spill in Randolph, he has been on the frontlines of emergency situations and often in a leadership role. He devotes a good deal of his professional life to preparing for these events and thinking about how to respond effectively in times of emergency. What are the keys to being prepared for these emergency events? Brian Edwards: You can never be 100 percent prepared for every possible emergency. However, you can apply some basic principles to all critical events that will help you mitigate them. It’s called an “all hazards approach.” We apply the basic Incident Command System principles to even the most routine events; therefore, when the “big one” hits, we’re accustomed to operating in that mode. Another key to being prepared is making sure your staff has all the tools and training they need to operate effectively. We look to national standards

for that. Important, too, is the professional relationships you build through networking. For instance, I was supported at the chemical spill by two very qualified individuals from Allina. We are used to working together, and since we have all had the same training, we were “speaking the same language.” What is the first thing you do when you are alerted to an emergency event? Brian Edwards: You try to get as much information as you can, as fast as you can. And it never comes fast enough. You try to start the “if/then” thinking. For instance, during the anhydrous spill, I made the decision early on to close Highway 56. I knew that parents and on-lookers would start clogging up the ingress and egress points rather quickly. I instructed the sheriff’s patrol to close the highway. You also try to start assistance as soon as possible. Being in a rural area, additional resources take much longer to get here. You need to call for them right away. You also have to start thinking about the end game, very early on. What do we want for an outcome? What does the public expect for an outcome? What

Brian Edwards

decisions can we make now that will produce the outcome we want? What qualities do you think are important for leaders to be effective? Brian Edwards: If you consider all of the traits of a good leader, whether during a critical event or outside of it, the traits I look for are: integrity; ability to keep calm; professional knowledge (and experience); empathy; foresight; good communications skills; technical expertise; and the ability to get people to do what you need done in a timely manner.

Gift shop to provide sleep sacks for newborns Northfield Hospital Auxiliary’s Kaleidoscope gift shop is now donating sleep sacks to all babies born at First Touch Birth Center. The cloth sleep sacks, or wearable blankets, are promoted as an important strategy for reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). They provide a warm, swaddling affect without the risk

of loose fitting blankets covering an infant’s face and interfering with its breathing. Sleep sacks promote the practice of putting infants to rest on their backs, something recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control.


Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID Northfield, MN Permit No. 171

FAMILYHEALTH is published as a community service for households served by Northfield Hospital & Clinics. Additional copies are available by calling Community Relations, 507-646-1034.

Mark Henke President and CEO

Dixon Bond Chair, Board of Trustees

Randy Reister, MD Clinic Medical Director

Scott Richardson Editor

2000 North Avenue Northfield, MN 55057

Information in FAMILYHEALTH comes from a wide range of medical experts. If you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health, please contact your health care provider. Contents copyrighted. All rights reserved.


Northfield Hospital Roundup Hospital Auxiliary celebrates book sale’s 50th year Northfield Hospital Auxiliary will mark a half century of book sales this coming spring. The 2011 Great Northfield, Minnesota Book Raid, which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26 through Saturday, April 30, will be the 50th consecutive year for this fundraiser. The sale has become the auxiliary’s signature event, raising thousands of dollars each year to support the work of Northfield Hospital & Clinics and other health improvement initiatives in the community. Book fair chairs are gathering names of past chairs and longstanding section leaders for a

50-year celebration. If you know of someone who should be included, contact Jan Mathews, book fair cochair, at 507-645-8747. Auxiliary brings WiFi to hospital Patients and visitors now have wireless access throughout the hospital thanks to a $10,000 donation from the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary. Mark Henke, president and CEO of Northfield Hospital & Clinics, said wireless is an important amenity for the hospital to have. “This will enhance the ability of patients to communicate with friends and family and allow

visitors to make productive use of their down time while at the hospital,” he said. “It is an expectation people have when they come to a healthcare facility. The Auxiliary’s timely donation made this happen.” Board members retire John Lundblad and Curt Swenson are retiring from Northfield Hospital & Clinics Board of Directors at the end of January. John has served for 17 years, and Curt for nine. They will be succeeded by Steve O’Neill, director of the St. Olaf College Counseling Center, and Barbara Burke, a trainer, author and speaker on customer care.

Hospital names new finance officer Timothy Gronseth, a healthcare finance professional with more than 25 years of experience, has been named Northfield Hospital & Clinics’ Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He succeeds Roger Stapek, who retired in December after 30 years of service as the hospital’s chief financial officer. Most recently Gronseth served as Vice President and CFO at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital in Hastings, NE, an 183-bed acute care hospital with 12 clinics. He previously worked in a variety of finance leadership positions with Owatonna Hospital – Allina, Prairie Lakes Health Care Systems in Watertown, SD, and Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia.


Our focus is to provide a positive and healing environment that is patient centered. If you are interested in becoming a member of our highly-skilled and compassionate staff, please view our employment opportunities at

FamilyHealth Winter 2011  

The quarterly magazine of Northfield Hospital & Clinics