Health notes: Superior toddler scheduled for kidney transplantJackson Beattie, the toddler from Superior who inspired a kidney walk in Afghanistan, is scheduled to have his kidney transplant today.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Jackson Beattie, the toddler from Superior who inspired a kidney walk in Afghanistan, is scheduled to have his kidney transplant today.
Barring last-minute obstacles, the transplant of a kidney from 20-year-old cousin Brett Beattie to 20-month-old Jackson was scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, according to Facebook and Caring Bridge pages set up on Jackson’s behalf. Surgeons have told Jackson’s parents, Dave and Sara Beattie, that the operation normally takes four to five hours.
Jackson was born with kidney damage and was in urgent need of a new kidney. Finding a donor was difficult because most potential donors weren’t a close enough match that his body wouldn’t reject the donated organ.
Jackson was featured in a News Tribune story and in news broadcasts in May before the annual Duluth Kidney Walk. The “Keeping it Renal” team, consisting of family members and friends, raised more than $19,000 for the event. They also had a branch in Afghanistan organized by Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan “Jonah” Shaul, a high school classmate of Dave and Sara Beattie’s.
A timely jumble
On the subject of kidney donations, the “Hope for Jackson Beattie” page on Facebook includes a copy of Wednesday’s “Jumble,” which appears in the News Tribune and more than 600 other newspapers.
The puzzle referred to the story of Jumble artist Jeff Knurek, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Like Brett Beattie, Knurek donated a kidney to a cousin, in his case in 2007. The puzzler shows the two men in a hospital room, with the artist wearing a gown that’s complete with the logo of his alma mater, the University of Michigan. A poster in the background reads: “The gift of life. Pass it on.”
Knurek told the National Kidney Foundation he hoped to encourage other people to consider becoming organ donors.
Health reformers in town
Key state health officials will be in town today for a meeting of the Governor’s Health Care Reform Task Force.
The meeting, which is open to the public, runs from 2:30-5:15 p.m. in the Kirby Student Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The task force includes Lucinda Jesson, commissioner of the state Department of Human Services; Ed Ehlinger, health commissioner; Mike Rothman, commerce commissioner; and legislators and private-sector representatives.
The task force, which has met monthly since last November, will discuss recommendations to improve access to health coverage and improve health-care payment and delivery systems in Minnesota. It is expected to present policy recommendations to the governor and Legislature this November.
They shoot horsehoes, right?
It’s not known whether he will squeeze in some horseshoe-pitching while he’s in Duluth today, but it is known that the state health commissioner is a big fan of the game.
So much so that he’s in the midst of a “Pitch the Commissioner” tour of the state in which he combines horseshoe-pitching with discussions on public health issues.
“Pitching horseshoes is a fun and easy way for people to be physically active and engage in conversation at the same time,” Ehlinger said in a Minnesota Department of Health news release. “I want to hear what Minnesotans have to say about what their communities need to be healthy and I want to highlight the achievements of local public health.”
The first “Pitch the Commissioner” event took place Tuesday in Rochester, with similar events slated later this summer in Buffalo, Albert Lea and Moorhead.
But none, so far, are scheduled in the Northland.
Up one degree in Pine City
Pine Technical College in Pine City, Minn., has been rapidly expanding its health-care offerings in recent years. Now it has entered a partnership with another school to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
The program is offered by St. Paul-based Bethel University, but the classes will take place at the Pine Technical campus, a news release from the college said. Up to 30 students are accepted and move through the program together, taking one course at a time for 18 to 20 months. The program is open to registered nurses.
Bethel University is providing the first group of students — starting this fall term — a scholarship totaling one-third of tuition (a value of more than $5,300). Traditional financial aid also is available for those who qualify.
Pine Technical already offers nursing assistant courses, a medical laboratory technician program in partnership with Lake Superior College, a medical assistant associated of applied science degree and phlebotomy and electrocardiography credentials.
More information is available by calling the college at (320) 629-5100. The school’s website is at pinetech.edu.