In The Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

October 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

"Walking Miracle" is Back in the Classroom

By In the Loop

classroom with teacherScott Gefroh, probably more than most teachers, was keen to get back to the classroom this fall and back to teaching social studies to the young minds of Horizon Middle school in Bismarck, North Dakota. "I really don't like being out of my classroom," Scott recently told the Bismarck Tribune. A heart condition had sidelined him for much of the past year. It was the latest in a series of heart problems that began in 2003 and led him to Mayo Clinic.

As Scott tells the Tribune, his medical rollercoaster ride began when doctors diagnosed him with a bad heart valve in 2003 – an issue that had likely been with him since birth. That valve was replaced, but after nine years, it, too, needed replacement. This time, the paper reports, Scott's health "continued to deteriorate." Near the end of August 2013, doctors discovered that Scott had acquired an infection around the surgical site. The infection led to an aortic aneurysm. Just two weeks after surgery in November 2013 to repair the aneurysm, Scott had a second one.

At that point, the Tribune reports that Scott's surgeon at Mayo Clinic, Rakesh Suri, M.D., gave him two options: another open heart surgery or going home to spend his last days with his family. Despite the risks, Scott tells the Tribune he knew what he had to do. "My chances, after the previous three (surgeries) and severity of the situation due to another aneurysm on the aorta, were extremely slim," he says. "I knew right away that I would have the surgery, because at least I had a chance at survival." [...]

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Tags: Dr Rakesh Suri, heart transplant

October 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

The Doctor Is In (the Kiosk)

By In the Loop

KioskAlthough teleporting yourself to a doctor's office far, far away may still be in the distant future (or a medically themed sci-fi movie), the next best thing is much closer to home than you might think. Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, Minnesota, is piloting a program called Mayo Clinic Health Connection, where health care providers can see patients remotely -- beaming up their images, if you will.

As KAAL-TV tells it, the program uses a kiosk called the HealthSpot -- "about the size of a walk-in closet" -- which is a "self-contained unit" where patients can access medical care for common conditions. Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea/Austin CEO Mark Ciota, M.D., tells KAAL, "The patient will walk in and have a very high-quality interaction with the provider" even though "the provider can be anywhere else in the world." A patient in Austin, for example, could see a provider in Albert Lea.

Melissa Barr, clinic operations manager, and Scot Ramsey, operations administrator, demonstrated how the kiosk works for the folks at the Albert Lea Tribune. Barr sat inside the kiosk on the second floor of the health system building in Austin while Ramsey sat several rooms away. Ramsey was able to converse with and listen to Barr's heartbeat through an electronic stethoscope that she held to her heart. [...]

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Tags: Albert Lea, Austin, Dr Mark Ciota, Mayo Clinic Health System, Melissa Barr, Scot Ramsey, telemedicine

October 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop

"I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession."

John Wooden

October 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo One Celebrates 30 Years and Precious Minutes

By In the Loop

Mayo One helicopterAnniversaries are times to celebrate as well as look back and take stock. And when the good folks at Mayo One look back ontheir 30 years of service, they think about patients like Nels Gunderson, whose life hung in the balance when a farm accident claimed his leg and nearly ended his life. Nels recently told the Rochester Post-Bulletin that he's "living proof" of how important the service is. "Without it, I may or may not have been here," he says.

Nels was working on his property in Osseo, Wisconsin, back in May 2012 when he stopped to make a quick repair to his rototiller. "I was planting sweet corn with a commercial rototiller, walked up to the rototiller to repair a pin that was acting up," he tells the newspaper. "The rototiller decided to jump up … and landed on the end of my work boot. And before we could get it shut off, it cut my leg off ... sucked me into the rototiller." His leg was severed four inches below the knee.

His son quickly shut off the machine and called 911 – the first actions in what Nels describes as a "textbook" response he credits with saving his life. First responders – including Nels' brother, who the P-B notes is "the local EMS director" – were on the scene quickly, and the Mayo One emergency medical helicopter based at nearby Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire was close on their heels. "They were going in the air before we even dispatched them, because they heard the call," Nels says. [...]

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Tags: Mayo One

October 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Giving Patients Plenty of 'Alternatives'

By In the Loop

Accupuncture760The other day, as we were scouring the Interwebs, we came across a story in The Atlantic that caught our eye titled, "There is no alternative medicine." It turns out the headline was a bit deceiving, as the piece primarily highlights the trials and tribulations of Gervasio Lamas, M.D., and his quest to convince the medical world to consider the alternative, and "controversial," use of chelation over more traditional forms of treatment for patients with heart disease.

The headline did, however, get us wondering about Mayo's view of the field formerly known as alternative medicine. And for that, we turned to our resident expert (formerly known as alternative medicine guru), Brent Bauer, M.D., director of Mayo's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.

"The old battle of alternative vs. conventional medicine is really old news," Dr. Bauer tells us. "Mayo has become a recognized leader in integrative medicine and wellness promotion, as that's emerging as an equally strong value and brand for us … as is delivering the best of care to meet the needs of our patients." To back up that claim, Dr. Bauer points to the program's success in having published more than 100 studies on integrative medicine clinical trials that have helped show the value of treatments like massage, acupuncture, and other "mind-body" treatments -- "not as replacements, but as complements to the great care Mayo has always provided," Dr. Bauer says. [...]

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Tags: alternative medicine, chelation, Dr Brent Bauer, Dr Gervasio Lamas

October 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop

"The aim of medicine is to prevent disease and prolong life; the ideal of medicine is to eliminate the need of a physician."

Dr. William J. Mayo

October 9th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Opening a New Door at Mayowood

By In the Loop

The great oak tree at Mayowood, under which the Mayo family picnicked and hatched plans for their future home. The picturesque driveway was lined with trucks, vans and other vehicles of the grounds crew and contractors putting the finishing touches on the historic mansion when we snuck into Mayowood with our cameras a couple weeks before the grand re-opening. We were greeted by the hum of power washers, the sounds of a skid loader, platoons of colorful chrysanthemums, and our host Chuck Potter, who was overseeing a mad dash to get ready for the debut of the newly restored estate last weekend.

Mr. Potter, manager of Mayo historic properties, had agreed to give us a tour and let us capture it on film. He was keen to start on the back patio, under the tree where it all began. The house is built around the great oak, under which it's said Dr. Charles and Edith Mayo and family picnicked and found inspiration one day in the early 1900s. [...]

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Tags: history, Mayowood

October 9th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Improvising Their Way to Becoming Better Colleagues and Caregivers

By In the Loop

Medical Improv classes teach participants how to respond to cues from patients and colleagues, and adapt accordingly. Johanna Rian walked into the classroom at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Education Center with a plan in place for a course on narrative healing. But as she began laying out the course materials, that plan was blown out of the water. "I went in with a plan, which was to start with a piece of poetry," she says. "But when one of the attendees saw the poem he immediately said, 'I'm not going to like this at all.'"

Undeterred, Rian drew from her improvisational training to come up with a new direction, one she says may have been better than the original. "Fifteen minutes into the course, I had a room full of people, and we were off on a completely improvised agenda, and it was hugely successful," she says. "I was really happy that I'd gotten that new direction from that one attendee, which was that I needed to be creative."

It's the kind of improvisation Rian, coordinator of the Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine at Mayo Clinic, and co-conspirator Gene Dankbar, Systems and Procedures, are trying to teach others at Mayo through a series of monthly workshops called Med City Medical Improv. [...]

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Tags: Cancer Education Center, Gene Dankbar, Johanna Rian

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