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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Gray Matter: Mayo Clinic a Midwest jewel

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's always interesting  to see the ideas used to promote our rural area as a great place to live, which it certainly is! As we watch country homes being built, re-modeled or restored, we know that folks are paying attention. 

In recent weeks I've come to realize that there is an additional asset to our location which is sometimes overlooked.  I am referring to the fact that we live only a half-day's drive from one of the top-ranking medical institutions in the entire world --  the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Mayo connections, for both my husband's family and mine, go back a long way.  His father took a younger brother there in 1919, on the advice of a Cherokee doctor.  They diagnosed  tuberculosis of the spine, and the lad became one of  the first patients on which pioneering surgeons performed a successful bone fusion. Years later, I worked briefly in their editorial department.  But let me assure you there are many reasons beyond these personal associations which color my opinion.  For one example, a young friend of ours recently developed a painful hip condition diagnosed locally as  a common arthritic problem requiring routine hip replacement.  For several reasons, her age in particular, she sought a second opinion at Mayo.  There, through the combined efforts and extensive experience of their orthopedic specialists, it was determined that her problem actually stemmed from what amounted to a birth defect.  As the ball component of her hip joint met the socket at an improper angle, it had prematurely worn away the protective cartilage.  At that point, a member of the Mayo staff, who does nothing but correct hip joints malformed from birth, performed the proper repair.  The results have been remarkable.

In addition to the expert medical attention, there is still another aspect of the clinic to recommend it.  I have heard it described as " the caring work ethic of the Upper Midwest" and I think we "Upper- Midwesterners" appreciate that.  From the moment you step up to the Admissions Desk to your last stop at the Business Office, you always feel that they care.  In addition to the doctors, nurses, secretaries and social workers, there is an incredible cadre of volunteers who assist the patients in every conceivable way.  

Please understand, I am not recommending the Mayo Clinic for everyone; it is not that kind of place.  But when an unusual situation occurs, how comforting it is to know that the world's best care is really just "up the road". 

Over the years, our favorite family doctor has referred us to Mayo when he thought it advisable.  Several times I have heard him say,  "I always learn something from my patient's experience there."  So you see, in addition to its being beneficial for a patient, the proximity of this world-famed institution  is an advantage for area physicians, as well.  This, to me, is a sort of double-barreled advantage of our location which should not be overlooked.