Weather Forecast



Essentia among 21 other US facilities with cath labs

If you’re having a heart attack, there are few places in the country better equipped to save your life than Essentia Health-St. Mary’s in Duluth. That’s according to an independent, physician-led group called the Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence, which has put the hospital’s cardiac catherization (cath) lab in a category with just 21 other facilities in the United States. “It’s an honor to know Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Heart and Vascular Center is on par with the best in the country,” said Wilson Ginete, an Essentia Health cardiologist. “Some people think they have to travel to the Cities or beyond to receive world-class care, and that’s simply not true. They just have to come here.” The hospital received accreditation for meeting the group’s standards in patient care, staff training and record-keeping. Located in the hospital’s heart and vascular center, the cath lab sees about 15 patients each day, a third of which for critical heart attacks called STEMI attacks, which occur when heart arteries become completely blocked. In the cath lab, doctors are usually able to treat patients in less than half an hour. They start by making a small incision in the artery and injecting a dye to locate the blockage. Then, they send a small tube through the artery to remove the buildup. Run by seven doctors and about 20 other cardiologists, the lab is home to seven suites, each designed for specific procedures and patient needs. It’s the only cath lab in Minnesota accredited by the group. “It’s incredibly rewarding to work in a place where someone can be rushed up from the ER or in from a helicopter, and 20 minutes later, they’re walking and talking, said Dale Carnes, cath lab nurse. “It’s the best part of my job and why I love what I do.”

CSS dean recognized for e-health advocacy

A longtime faculty member at the College of St. Scholastica has been recognized by the state of Minnesota for her work in health care education. Martha (Marty) Witrak, dean of St. Scholastica’s School of Nursing, is the recipient of the Leadership and Impact Award and the Co-Chair Service Award from the Minnesota e-Health Initiative, the information technology division of the Minnesota Department of Health. Witrak has served the last four years as co-chairwoman of the initiative’s advisory committee, dealing with issues related to the flow of electronic health information. “She is a strong leader for e-health and moving the state forward in its goal for adoption and effective use of electronic health records,” said Bob Johnson, project manager in the health policy division of the Minnesota Office of Health Information Technology. The idea behind the e-health movement is to improve care and reduce costs by sharing information among health care facilities, making it possible for patients to be treated in more locations. A fixture of St. Scholastica’s nursing program for nearly 25 years, Witrak’s four-year term with the state’s advisory committee ended in June. “Her can-do attitude really helped to bring people together,” Johnson said. Kyle Farris, news tribune