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Wishek Hospital


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Physical Therapy: Caring for the Whole Patient  

The WHC PT Team (left to right): Rebecca Bender, Kristen Burgad-Heidrich, John Kosiak and PT Aide/Receptionist Gerri HornerPhysical therapists are licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility.  Our PTs at the Wishek Hospital and Clinics are each trained in the treatment and care of orthopedic, neurological, post-fracture/post-surgical care, wound care and sports medicine conditions.  Rebecca Bender is currently undergoing a specialty certification in orthopedics and manual therapy.  John Kosiak and Kristen Burgad-Heidrich are both certified athletic trainers who specialize in sports medicine conditions.  All three answered these questions to shed light on the whole-patient care our PT department provides (information is also adapted from

What are the most common injuries that you treat?
PTs examine each individual and develop a plan by using treatment techniques.  These techniques aid patients in their ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability.  The most common physical therapy treatments we do are for pain in the lower back, neck, shoulder and knee.  We also deal with post-operative conditions (total knee, shoulder or hip replacement, fracture repairs, rotator cuff repairs, etc.).

What are some of the new or most-utilized pieces of equipment you use on patients?
One of the newer pieces is our Game Ready machine which provides ice and compression simultaneously.  We currently have sleeves to treat ankle, knee and shoulder injuries.  We use mechanical traction (stretching through harnesses) to treat lower back and cervical (neck) conditions.  Electrical stimulation is used for various things like pain, muscle control and swelling. 

While treating student athletes for ankle sprains, shoulder pain, knee injuries, ACL tears, or post-surgical repairs, what other injuries do you expect in an athletic season?
Concussions.  To treat those, we follow a five step program to make sure athletes are ready to return to their designated sport.  We assist in strengthening their neck muscles as well to prevent further head injuries.

When would you recommend someone to call the PT department?
North Dakota is a state where some insurances allow direct access to physical therapists, meaning that you may see a PT without first getting a referral.  However, some insurances (like Medicare) do require that a PT patient is first seen and referred by a provider.  It would be best to first check with your insurance company to verify coverage before making an appointment.

Physical therapy, at times, can be an equally effective alternative to surgery and prescription drugs for numerous conditions ranging from back pain and degenerative disk disease to knee osteoarthritis.

Since elderly patients are among the majority of your caseloads, how is treatment you offer them different than those for younger generations? 
When working with the older population, there is a greater chance of prior injuries and conditions that may be affecting their overall functioning.  They may also have underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or a previous stroke.  All of these issues can modify the way we provide treatment and affect the care we give them.  For example, a patient may see us for elevated shoulder pain, but during the initial evaluation, we address their impairments, and their goals as well as their shoulder pain.  Overall we look at the patient as a whole.  We will then work through those issues with the patient.

What are some things patients can do during the winter to keep their mobility loose and pain at a minimum? 
Basically, try to keep moving.  We all get pretty sedentary during winter months, not wanting to walk on ice or get out into the cold.  We encourage people to get gym memberships and take advantage of facilities open to the public for walking.  There are also general strengthening exercises you can do throughout your day, whether standing and sitting. 

The website (and facebook page) has great exercise tips that you can implement throughout your workday


Ana Buchholz: A Life-Saving Story Still worth Telling

     “I tell Rosemary every time I see her, ‘you saved my life,’” says Ana Buchholz, a Gackle resident who, seven and a half years ago, experienced something that is still worth talking about.
     It was June of 2007, and Ana had been having terrible reoccurring backaches for about a year.  “One night, I couldn’t sleep because of the pain, and I asked Buck (Ana’s husband) to take me to the Wishek hospital.”  She originally thought it was a kidney infection, but the doctor had different thoughts.  “He wanted to feel my stomach and when he did, he reported it was hard.”  They prescribed some pain and blood pressure medication and scheduled Ana for an Xray the following day.  Since the pain had subsided by then, Ana cancelled her Xray appointment, but two weeks later, the pain got much worse.

“She touched my belly and said, ‘I can feel your heartbeat. I believe you have an aneurysm.’  She just knew right away.”

     It was July 3rd when she went in to the Gackle Clinic to see WHC’s PA-C Rosemary Hauff, who also wanted to feel her stomach.  “She touched my belly and said, ‘I can feel your heartbeat. I believe you have an aneurysm.’  She just knew right away,” recalls Ana.  With Rosemary’s consent, Ana and Buck headed to Fargo that night to get Xrays, covering their bases so as to be in the same city as their daughter, Kathy, in case this would turn into surgery.
     The next day, Ana underwent tests, Xrays and ultrasounds.  The results showed she had an abdominal aortic aneurysm, meaning the large blood vessel (aorta) that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs had become abnormally large and started ballooning outward.  If left untreated, it could have eventually ruptured.
     Ana’s aneurysm measured eight by ten centimeters in size.  A vascular surgeon who performed Ana’s procedure, knew the risk of having an aneurism that large.  “If it bursts during surgery, you'll be gone,” he told her.
     “So do I have a 50/50 chance?” Ana asked.  His reply calmed her fears.  He was 99.9% sure that would not happen and that she would get through the procedure just fine.  The faith Ana had in Rosemary’s guidance and her surgeon kept her positive in spite of the nervousness she felt.
      The following Monday, July 9th, Ana underwent the surgery that replaced her aorta.  She woke up Tuesday morning in ICU and had to re-learn how to walk.  “It was very hard,” recalls Ana.  “They had to cut through muscle and nerves, so my right leg went numb for a while.”  After being discharged, Ana stayed with her daughter in Fargo to continue recovery.

“We are very lucky to have that level of medical service for our small community. Very lucky.”

      In August, Ana returned to her home in Gackle and replaced her walker with a cane that she used until the end of that year.  Ana had a lot of help from her husband throughout the recovery process.  “I knew I had to keep it together because she was in trouble and I wanted to make sure, hopefully, that they would be able to fix everything.  I knew I had to keep from being a basket case and give her all I could,” said Buck, Ana’s husband of 53 years.  At the time, the couple owned the Tri-County Newspaper.  With the help from family members and friends, the paper stayed afloat during Ana’s recovery, and Buck was still able to spend much of July in Fargo with his wife.
     Ana’s first surgery was followed by a second just six months later.  Ana had another aneurysm close to her heart that was fixed with a stent graft.  Other than a scar that extends from under her left arm to her navel and a change in her vocal chords that soon corrected itself, Ana has been able to go about her daily life with few hindrances.  “I can’t even tell,” says Ana about the artificial aorta and graft.  Ana was 63 years old when she went through the surgeries.  She is now 70 and stays active with housework, cooking and baking.  Rosemary has remained Ana’s primary care provider.  “Oh she is great.  You can't beat her.  We have cousins in Medina that come just to see her.  Rosemary is personal and thorough.  She will go over everything with you…if one thing doesn’t work, she will try something different.”
      Buck is also happy to have facilities and providers in our communities that take care of people like they did his wife.  “We are very lucky to have this level of medical service for our small community. Very lucky,” said Buck.

“Oh she is great.  You can't beat her.  Rosemary is personal and thorough.  She will go over everything with you.”




Carly Jonas, WHC Auxiliary PresidentGreetings!  

It’s a new year and the Wishek Hospital and Clinics Auxiliary is looking for new members! The Auxiliary is made up of a special group of dedicated people whose mission is to promote and advance the welfare of the WHC.  Members proudly and passionately serve as advocates to the hospital and clinics.  We share a common goal of supporting the WHC mission of providing quality care with concern and compassion.  Through volunteer service and fundraising, our work benefits patients and families directly.

For example, this past year, the Auxiliary organized an enchilada fundraiser.  The profits went toward the purchasing of TVs for patient rooms, ambulance pagers, and a new bladder scanner.  This upcoming year, we will host a “Tour of Tables” benefit and invite businesses to sponsor and decorate a table with a theme of their choice.  Attendees will enjoy a meal and entertainment.

We encourage anyone from our community to join the WHC Auxiliary.  Meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6:30pm in the Wishek Clinic Conference Room.  If you are interested in joining, please contact Carly Jonas at 701-261-3331 or Sonja Graber at 701-452-2421.

Carly Jonas
WHC Auxiliary President

The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.—DeAnn Hollis


Foundation Fall Fundraiser: a “Hee Haw” of a Good Time  

The community knows what to expect by now. In fact, many come dressed for the occasion. The annual Foundation Fall Fundraiser is a sure-fire guarantee for some fun with music, food, a main attraction, a decked-out Civic Center, and the satisfaction of contributing toward a good cause. This year's theme was based on “Hee Haw,” a TV variety show that aired from 1969 to the late 1980s. There were aspects reminiscent of the show used at the fundraiser including the Foundation's jug band that performed Hee Haw country songs. “This theme really seemed to connect with people,” said Tom Lovik, Foundation Chairman. “A lot of folks dressed up in bib overalls and hats...To me, that was a highlight because it showed people are really into this.”

Ventriloquist James Wedgwood was the featured entertainment of the evening. “He was terrific,” said Tom. “He even went down into the crowd several times to pick out some local people to participate. You could just feel the crowd getting into it.” Tom gave a short presentation about the work of the Foundation and the importance of financial support from the community to keep it running. The gross income from the event was $14,400 between ticket sales, the silent auction, and individual donations.

The event was heartening from the Board's standpoint. We are so grateful to the community for coming through as they did. Everything from the 218 tickets sold to the financial donations and the absolutely blew me away.” -Tom Lovik

The Foundation operates through a board of volunteers that dedicate their time and creativity to raise funds for the WHC through an annual event and other initiatives. Foundation funds are distributed to WHC departments in response to requests. Funds can only go toward initiatives that have direct patient benefit. The WHC Foundation also accepts one-time donations, land donation, or estate planning benefits at any time throughout the year. To start a conversation, contact Tom Lovik at 452-2797 or email


WHC Hosts District Auxiliary Conference

This year, the WHC Auxiliary was honored to host the District 1 Fall Meeting on September 23rd. Auxiliary members from Fargo, Valley City, Jamestown, Ashley, Minot and Wishek gathered at the American Legion for the conference.

The agenda included brainstorming for fundraising ideas, discussion, speakers and German cooking. Keynote speakers included Cindy Gall (RN, Wishek Living Center) on her mission trip to Haiti and Melissa Axt (former RN at the Wishek Hospital) on Anencephaly. Musical entertainment was provided by Bethany Tunheim (Accounts Receivable, WHC).

These Auxiliaries are dedicated groups of people who donate many hours to raise money to improve healthcare in their facilities. The Wishek Auxiliary would like to say a special thanks to late president, Jeannette Wald, who played an instrumental role in recruiting members and making the Auxiliary what it is today.

The most beneficial part of being on the Auxiliary is the feeling of giving back and being able to update supplies and technology that would not have been possible otherwise,” says Carly Jonas, WHC Auxiliary President. Their most recent purchases include ambulance pagers, televisions for patient rooms and a reclining lift chair.

Community members are welcome to join the WHC Auxiliary. Meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Wishek Clinic Conference Room. If you are interested in joining, contact Carly Jonas at 701.261.3331 or Sonja Graber 701.452.2421.

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