Local view: Keep great care in our backyardWhen I learned this winter of Mayo Clinic’s plans to expand and the city of Rochester’s plans for improvement, I was excited.
By: Jessica Danielson, for the News Tribune
On Dec. 2, 2011, my cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., informed me just how grave my situation was. After five days of medical tests, I knew I would need to be placed on the UNOS, or United Network of Organ Sharing, a waiting list for a new heart. What I didn’t know — or expect — was that my condition, congestive heart failure, had worsened quickly, and I would need two life-saving transplants to survive: a heart and now a liver.
When I was first given the news I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I gave a nervous chuckle, ready to believe it was a joke, ready to accept anything but the truth. The news wasn’t good but almost in the same breath, my doctor, a leading specialist in transplant cardiology, gave me some reassurance. He promised me the transplant team at Mayo, with the help of a wonderful nursing staff, was going to do whatever it could to save my life. They had done this kind of transplant before, and they were going to do it for me.
Right away I was sent home to Duluth to get my affairs in order so I could take up residence at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. The people who worked there became my friends, my support.
On June 18, I received the greatest gift any one person can receive: the gift of life. During the overnight hours, while Duluth and surrounding areas braced for a 500-year-flood, the gifted surgeons of Mayo Clinic removed my diseased heart and failing liver and replaced them with those of my donor.
Today, more than nine months later, I am back home in Duluth and circulating among the living again.
Every day I think how lucky I was to be so close to a world-class transplant center with the resources and skill to save my life. People from all over the country and all over the world come to the Mayo Clinic, which has transplant services in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and which performs more transplants than any other medical center in the world.
When I learned this winter of Mayo Clinic’s plans to expand and the city of Rochester’s plans for improvement, I was excited. I believe Mayo is one of Minnesota’s finest assets. The Destination Medical Center proposal, which now is being reviewed by the Minnesota Legislature, would be good for patients like me and others who come from around the world to receive care. It also would help Rochester keep pace with Mayo Clinic’s growth so it’s an even better place for Mayo’s brilliant doctors and nurses to live and for the millions who come each year for care and to visit.
The project would allow Minnesota to keep this great facility right in our own back- yard. You never know when you or someone you love might need the kind of care Mayo offers in order to keep living.
Jessica Danielson lives in Duluth.