Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore)
Mayo Clinic Department of Public Affairs. Editor, Sharing Mayo Clinic and In the Loop.
Activity by Hoyt Finnamore
Kristen Yukness knew what her doctor was going to say next. After a finding of bilateral deep vein thrombosis after a routine flight, Kristen had a strong feeling – based on her family history – that her condition had been caused by an underlying form of cancer. [...]
It's one thing to teach compassionate communication. It's another thing altogether to be on the receiving end of, "Your daughter has cancer." Learn how proton beam therapy gave Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., and her family hope. [...]
To recognize the 125th anniversary of nurse anesthetist education and the role of nurse anesthetist at Mayo Clinic, Sharing Mayo Clinic will include a series of vignettes highlighting influential Mayo Clinic nurse anesthetists. Those featured received their education at Mayo Clinic and went on to be instrumental in providing anesthesia education and make significant contributions to anesthesia practice.
Florence Henderson (1874-1956) served as nurse anesthetist for Charles H. Mayo, M.D. She graduated from Bishop Clarkson Hospital Training School for Nurses, Omaha, Nebraska, in 1900. As superintendent of nurses at Bishop Clarkson, she learned and taught to administer ether and chloroform anesthetics. Hired by the Mayo brothers in 1904, Henderson moved to Rochester, Minnesota, and worked with Alice Magaw, known as the “Mother of Anesthesia.” Under Magaw’s expert mentorship, Henderson became an ether specialist.
At the Nurse Alumnae Convention in 1909, Henderson spoke about the importance of nurse specialists in delivering anesthetics and also debated the use of ether versus nitrous oxide anesthesia with Agatha Hodgins, future founder of the National Association of Nurse Anesthetists (a forerunner of the current American Association of Nurse Anesthetists), who was a nitrous oxide specialist. [...]
In December 2014, Gregory Cascino, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, received a photo of a former patient. Kate Seifert was standing at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, almost 20,000 feet above sea level, at the mountain’s Uhuru Peak. The photo was accompanied by a note from Seifert’s mother.
“We will be forever grateful for the miracle you and everyone at Mayo Clinic gave to Kate and our family,” wrote Karen Seifert.
The story of that miracle begins 20 years earlier, when Kate, then a high school student in Appleton, Wisconsin, began having seizures. “I had my first complex seizure in the middle of a basketball game,” she says. “I was on my way back to the bench and fell on the ground shaking.” After a visit to the emergency department and an appointment with her primary care physician, Kate was referred to a neurologist. She was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Initially, the diagnosis had seemed to come without warning. But as Kate learned more about the condition, she realized she had been having partial seizures for several months.
“I’d have episodes where I’d feel like someone else was controlling my thoughts, or times where the corners or a wall would look huge, but the rest of the wall would look normal,” Kate says. “My mom had wanted to take me to a psychiatrist.” As the family’s epilepsy education began, they realized these episodes were sensory seizures. Soon, Kate would be having those seizures daily. [...]
After an ultrasound at 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Anna Ryabova, along with her husband, Oleg Pecherskii, faced a grim prognosis for their unborn son.
"The doctors in Russia told us his kidneys were very small, that they had not developed according to his gestational age, and that he would likely die within five days of his birth," Anna says.
But Roman miraculously survived, and on the 10th day, he was moved to one of Moscow children's hospital, where there was a nephrology department.
There, a nephrologist told to Anna and Oleg that Roman's condition would lead to a number of disabilities: he would have difficulty walking, as well as problems with his hearing, vision and mental development. Oleg asked doctors there about kidney transplant as a possibility for Roman. They answered that it was not a good idea and that children under five years had little chance of survival, in Russia especially. Instead, doctors suggested peritoneal dialysis.
"Nevertheless, we did not lose hope and were determined to do everything for our little son to get him out of disease. We staunchly believed in the best, and today we can say that our grit was rewarded by our very active and cheerful boy," Anna says. [...]
Mike Woellert had heard people talk about colonoscopies. He didn’t hesitate, and it may have saved his life.
Friday, March 27, marked the one-year anniversary of Michael Woellert’s colorectal cancer diagnosis. It’s a day he and his wife, Malissa, remember all too well.
“I was one of the last people to be called from the waiting room after Mike’s colonoscopy,” Malissa recalls. “I sensed something was wrong.” A nurse brought Malissa to Mike’s room, and the two of them, while viewing the ultrasound video in which a mass could clearly be seen, were told it was colorectal cancer.
The conversation was anything but clinical, however. “The doctor who had done the procedure, was tearing up while informing us of the results,” Malissa says. “I felt compassion all around me at that moment.”
Mike tried to lighten the mood with a joke. But Malissa says that even so, after hearing the diagnosis, she felt as if she had been kicked in the chest. She tried to contain her emotions, but felt the need to step out of the room momentarily to regain composure, knowing she wanted to return and provide support to Mike. [...]
Gail and Bob Boehmer recall driving through Lake City, Minnesota, many times on their way to northern Wisconsin, where they first met. Neither of them ever imagined the town on Lake Pepin would become a home away from home.
The Waterloo, Iowa, couple recently spent six weeks in Lake City. It wasn’t something they’d planned. But then life happened. And after three helicopter rides and multiple surgeries at Mayo Clinic, Bob found himself in need of just the kind of healing environment Mayo Clinic Health System in Lake City offers through the Mayo Transitional Care program. The program provides patients recovering from major illness or surgery with transitional nursing care and therapy until they’re ready to go back home.
Although uncertain at first, the Boehmers say Lake City’s connection with Mayo Clinic not only helped Bob heal but also eased their minds and lifted their spirits. [...]