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Wishek Hospital

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Spring 2017 Newsletter

Spring 2017 Newletter

Spring 2017 Newsletter


Community Health Needs Assessment Completed

With assistance from the Center for Rural Health at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Wishek Hospital and Clinics, along with surrounding medical facilities, recently completed a community health needs assessment.  The assessment, which is mandatory every three years, covered results from LaMoure, Logan and McIntosh counties.  Surveys were distributed, a focus group formed, and interviews conducted with key business leaders in the fall of last year.  Our final assessment has been completed and the full report can be found on our website at  Hard copies may also be requested by calling Shelly Glaesman at (701) 452-3129.  The WHC is in the process of creating an action plan in order to address the health concerns and needs expressed by our community members.

On March 28th, 29 people walked or ran their way around the Wishek Golf course to complete the Frosty Family Fun 5K. In response to issues outlined in the Community Needs Health Assessments, the Wishek Wellness Committee creates local opportunities to put good health into practice. --------------------

The purpose of creating the Health Needs Assessment:

  1. Describe the health of local people
  2. Identify areas for health improvement
  3. Identify use of local health care services
  4. Determine factors that contribute to health issues
  5. Identify and prioritize community needs
  6. Help health care leaders identify potential action to address the community’s health needs


Out of 45 listed community and health needs in the survey, the participants chose these six as the most important:

  1. Cost of health insurance
  2. Cost of health care
  3. Cost of prescription drugs
  4. Availability of doctors, nurses and specialists
  5. Cancer
  6. Financial viability of hospital


McIntosh County ranks 33rd out of 45 ranked counties in North Dakota on health outcomes, while LaMoure County ranked 17th. There was insufficient data from Logan County to assign numerical ranks to it.

Health Outcomes

With respect to health outcomes, Logan County tends to lag behind the state on measures of self-reported health and rates of diabetes. Additionally, LaMoure and McIntosh counties had higher rates of premature death than the rest of the state. All three counties had higher rates of diabetes than the state average. On the positive side, LaMoure County was performing in the Top 10% of counties nationally on measures of self-reported daily physical and mental health.


On the health factors measures, McIntosh County ranked 28th among North Dakota counties, while LaMoure County ranked 8th.  There was insufficient data from Logan County to assign numerical ranks to it.

Health Factors

Measures that were particularly concerning included:

  • Adult smoking in LaMoure County was substantially higher (nine percentage points) than the state rate.
  • The rate of adult obesity in Logan County was five points higher than the state rate.
  • All three counties have high rates of physical inactivity, indicating a region-wide trend.
  • Logan County has a rate of uninsured residents that is seven percentage points higher than the state rate.
  • All three counties have a higher ratio of residents to primary care physicians than the state ratio.




Gearing Up for Allergy Season

The time has come.  Spring is in the air and allergens are ready to pounce.  They come in many forms and may be applied on the skin, inhaled, ingested, or injected through a sting.  At least 20% of Americans suffer from a variety of allergies throughout the year.  WHC’s Dr. Joseph Thirumalareddy, MD has treated allergies and shares his advice for limiting their effect on day-to-day life.  Information was also adapted from, and

How does an allergy form?
The immune system is the body's organized defense mechanism against foreign invaders called antigens (i.e. viruses and bacteria).  It triggers the body to produce proteins called antibodies to fight the antigens.  However, some people develop a specific type of antibody called immunoglobulin E that fights off substances that are normally harmless (i.e. dander, pollen and insects).  This reaction creates an “allergy” in some people.

What are the most common forms of allergies?
Allergies can occur with a variety of food, medicine, pollen, dust, mold, plants or animals to name a few.  The most common allergies in food include gluten, dairy, nuts, seafood, eggs and soy.  Those who are allergic to animals are actually having a reaction to their dander (dead skin that is shed), saliva or urine.  Whatever the allergy, there are different reactions that can occur including asthma, allergic conjunctivitis (itchy/watery eyes), allergic rhinitis (runny/stuffy nose), swelling and hives.   

How does a provider test for allergies?
Your provider will ask about symptoms and perform an exam.  They may also use a skin test where a drop of the alleged substance causing the allergy is put on the skin, and a tiny prick is made.  The patient will be monitored to see if the skin develops a reaction, diagnosing the cause of the allergy.

Why do some people and not others suffer from allergies?
There are numerous factors.  Genetics can play a large role.  Research has also shown that children born via C-section have a higher risk of developing allergies later in life.  Boys are also more likely to form allergies than girls.  Exposure to antigens, tobacco smoke and use of antibiotics can also be factors.  This complicated issue continues to be an area of medical research.

How possible is it for children to grow out of their allergies?
It is more common for children with food allergies, but it depends on the food.  As many as 85% of children with a milk, egg or soy allergy will eventually outgrow them, whereas those with a peanut allergy have only a 20% chance.

What are some ways to prevent succumbing to the onset of an allergy?
When trying to identify exactly what causes or worsens your allergic symptoms, keep track of all your activities.  Write down when symptoms occur and what seems to relieve them.  This may help you and your provider identify triggers and plan steps to prevent and treat your allergies.  I would also recommend starting to take your allergy medicine prior to that time of year when your allergies usually flare up.  Note that some allergic reactions are also triggered or worsened by temperature extremes and emotional stress.  

What remedies do you recommend when allergies start to take their toll?

Dr. Joseph Thirumalareddy, MD

  1. Saline sinus rinses - Rinsing out your nose with a salt water solution disinfects and clears the nasal cavities, preventing allergies and infections from setting in.  Talk to your provider about the different devices available for nasal rinses.
  2. Steroid nose sprays - Providers often prescribe these sprays first, but give it time to kick in as they can take days, sometimes weeks, before they start to work.  
  3. Antihistamines - These medicines can stop itching, sneezing and runny nose symptoms.  Note that drowsiness accompanies some antihistamines and they should also not be given to young children.
  4. Allergy shots - Allergy shots are prescribed by an allergist and can be administered at our clinics.  These shots can also help lower your child’s risk of getting asthma later in life.
  5. Over-the-counter medication - If you want to try nonprescription medicines, be sure to read the directions carefully.  Some, like medicines used to treat a stuffy nose or red eyes, are not safe for young children.



Mammograms Go Mobile

WHC is partnering with DMS Imaging out of Fargo to offer a state-of-the-art service through their mobile full-field digital mammography machine.  DMS Imaging has already done an excellent job providing nuclear medicine services for our patients, and we believe the same level of care will be offered through their mobile mammography unit. 

In an article regarding full-field digital mammography, Dr. Mark Helvie, M.D. and Director of Breast Imaging at the University of Michigan Medical Center states, “Mammography was the last area of radiologic imaging to use digital technology due to its unique needs.  The high resolution and contrast needed to produce excellent quality mammographic imaging exceeds all other areas of digital imaging.  The technology to produce digital mammography is very complex, expensive, and time consuming.”  For these reasons, we are grateful to now be able to offer patients this service as full-field digital imaging is becoming the standard for mammography.

The DMS Imaging mobile unit will be located in the Wishek Hospital parking lot one day a month.  The mammography scheduling, billing and reporting process will remain the same.  Every other appointment in relation to mammograms will continue as normal including blood work, bone density tests and wellness exams with your provider of choice.  If you need a copy of your results for further testing, we will have access to the images and can send them upon request.  To schedule your mammogram, or if you have further questions, call the Wishek Clinic at 452-2326 and ask for the X-ray department. 

Dr. Helvie’s article was found on


“It’s the Little Things”: local care for infant makes big different for family

   Kevin, Hallie and Paige Tillotson in November of 2014.  Since Paige’s birth on May 9th, 2014, her parents, Kevin and Hallie Tillotson, have known her health would be a battle.  The early warning signs included abnormal newborn screenings, refusal of food and inability to sleep. 
     “She would act hungry so I would give her some milk, but I could tell even drinking caused her pain,” said Hallie.  When Paige did eat, she would often throw up.  “It got to the point where she was always fussy, angry, over-tired and hungry and I couldn’t console her anymore,” said Hallie. 
    The Tillotsons started their hunt to discover the cause of Paige’s problems at CHI St. Alexius Pediatrics.  They found Paige had high levels of lactic acid (produced in the body when oxygen levels are low), pumped her with fluids to bring the levels down and sent her home.  It seemed to help at first, but after about a week, Paige’s symptoms returned and the Tillotsons were back on the road to Bismarck.
    At one point, Paige’s pediatrician thought it could be a metabolic disorder (when the body is unable to break down certain foods) and sent the Tillotsons to the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.   The tests came back negative.  Then, Paige underwent genetic testing, but no clear answer was found.  The cause of her sickness remained a mystery.
     Over the course of two months, the Bismarck trips went from weekly to every couple of days.   A return after only 24 hours, followed by 11 needle punctures for tests and fluids, was almost unbearable for the couple and hard on Paige.  Together, Hallie and Kevin decided to do something considered unconventional for an infant.  They requested a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line to be put in Paige.  The line would remain in her chest for three weeks and would allow easy access for blood draws and the supply of fluids while eliminating the numerous needle punctures.
     As a young couple just embarking on their one-year anniversary, their newborn’s sickness made life adjustments more drastic.  “We never really got into a family routine,” Hallie commented.  She wasn’t able to return to her normal work schedule as CNA at the Wishek Hospital, but received much grace for time off to care for their daughter.  Hallie and Paige spent days, sometimes nights, apart from Kevin for treatments in Bismarck while he remained at home to continue working at Wishek Manufacturing.
     After two months, the Tillotsons transferred Paige’s care to the Wishek Hospital.  Hallie was impressed and grateful for the lengths to which the WHC staff went to make local care possible for Paige’s abnormal condition.  The providers opened a Standing Order that allowed regular dressing and PICC line cap changes, lactic acid level checks, blood draws and hospitalization if need be. 
     “They even ordered a special kind of dressing and infant PICC caps,” recalls Hallie.  She also noticed the good teamwork among nursing staff as they gently cleaned and replaced Paige’s dressing and cap every three days. 
     While Paige never had to be admitted for an overnight stay, she had direct access to the Wishek Hospital services at any time, day or night.  “Knowing we could come here if we needed something was reassuring,” said Hallie.  “It’s not always the big things that make a difference, but the small things like changing her cap.  That was a big thing to me!   It saved us a two-hour trip and I was comfortable with the people that were doing it.”
     As a CNA who has been on the caregiving end at WHC, Hallie explained that her experience as a mother of a patient has shed new light on the receiving end.  “They helped me learn and answered my questions while also listening to what I had to say,” said Hallie. 
     It took Paige 15 weeks before her body started digesting food properly.  At nine months, her symptoms seemed to have subsided and she was considered a normal, healthy baby.  However, medical difficulties were not over for Paige.  When she seemed to be fully recovered, seizures hit.  Her first one was February 22nd of this year. 
     “It was the scariest day of my life,” recalls Hallie.  “I was on duty at the hospital when the alert came up for a nine-month old who had quit breathing at my address.”  Kevin was at home with Paige when her seizure began.  He immediately called 911 and gave Paige rescue breaths.  Aubrey Atkins, FNP met them at the ER.  “She did everything she could to keep Paige awake so she wouldn’t pass out again,” recalls Hallie.  Aubrey worked to stabilized Paige before sending her to CHI St. Alexius to get a full check.
     While checking in at the Wishek Clinic one month later, Paige fell into yet another seizure. Aubrey happened to be the provider in the clinic at the time and again treated Paige.  “I can’t say enough good things about what Aubrey has done.  We were comforted to know it was the same provider who saw Paige both times.”  After further tests, it was discovered that Paige’s seizures were febrile (with fever) and the Tillotsons are monitoring her temperature.
     For Hallie, these experiences have been difficult, to say the least, but she has seen at least one good thing come out of it, “I wasn’t planning on it, but after all of this happened, it has actually motived me to get my LPN license.”  She is currently taking online classes and aims to complete the required coursework in two to three years.
     The Tillotsons recently moved to Wahpeton where Hallie will continue to work as a CNA and Kevin as a painter for Wil-Rich.  As for Paige, “She is a trooper.  You kind of have to be to go through all of that,” says Hallie.

             To stay updated on Paige’s health, visit her facebook page, “Prayers for Paige Tillotson.”


   If you have a patient testimony idea about yourself or someone you know who has benefitted from WHC services and is willing to share, contact Jenn Lukens at the Wishek Clinic at 701-452-3157.