The Mayo Brothers aren't alone in Mayo Clinic lore as having gone into the family business. There are generational connections throughout Mayo's history and throughout the organization today. From our friends in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, comes a story of another family's three-generation tie to local health care.
The story begins with Allen Limberg, M.D. ("Dr. Allen" to his patients). He completed an internship and residency at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire before opening the Limberg Clinic in Glenwood City, Wisconsin, in 1950. (Both facilities are now part of Mayo Clinic Health System.) Dr. Allen's daughter, Nancy Kohlhepp, remembers her father making house calls "24/7" when she was a child. And just like the post office, neither rain, nor sleet, nor a "huge snowstorm" could keep the good doctor from his duties. Kohlhepp was once called on to chauffer her father to a patient's house on snowmobile. Her father was also known to drive laboring women to the hospital to deliver their children, she tells the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. (We'd call that a special delivery.)
Kohlhepp says her father taught her that it's "wonderful to help people" and that doing so "makes you feel good," too. We suspect that's part of what drew her to the medical field, herself. Kohlhepp recently retired after 36 years as a nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Most of those were spent in the endoscopy laboratory. But Kohlhepp also worked in the OB department, where her husband would sometimes bring their daughter in for a visit. (You know where this is going.) On those trips Laura Nelson, D.O. — now an emergency medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire — says she would "look at the babies," and then get "a carton of chocolate milk from the café next to the gift shop."
Sounds like a pretty sweet memory to us. And Dr. Nelson has sweet memories of her grandfather and his work, as well. When she'd visit his house as a girl, he'd "bring out a light box and we would look at X-rays on the kitchen table," she says, adding that it "was one of my favorite things to do with him." What impressed Dr. Nelson most about her grandfather was "the passion and the love that he had" for medicine, something she tells us her grandfather "passed on to me."
Dr. Allen died before Dr. Nelson finished medical school, but he knew she was following in his footsteps. Dr. Nelson says she misses her grandfather and wishes "he could see me now and meet my daughter," but believes that "God had a way" of "showing me my grandpa is so proud of me" — her daughter, Elsie, was born on Dr. Allen's birthday.
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