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Rob Caskey sat close to his mother, Sandra Troy, who was lying on a bed in a room at St. Luke's hospital. The husky, mustached North Carolinian looked at her with the tenderness one might expect of a man spending time with his mom when she'd been going through health difficulties. But there was a difference: Until this week, Caskey, 48, hadn't seen his mom for 30 years. Until recently, he had no idea she was living in Duluth; no idea, in fact, that she was alive.
A small nursing home in Buhl has been cited for neglect in the case of a resident who fell on a concrete sidewalk just outside the facility and later died as a result of her injuries. In a report published online on Tuesday, the state's Office of Health Facilities Complaints found that "based on a preponderance of evidence, neglect occurred" in the incident last May 5 at Cornerstone Villa, a locally owned, not-for-profit, 44-bed nursing home.
Savings from not smoking We know that the rate of smoking in Minnesota is at an all-time low. But what would it look like if none of us smoked? Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota asked that question, and the agency released the report it commissioned last week. It concluded that smoking is responsible for 6,312 deaths and $3.19 billion in excess medical costs in the state each year. That means the economic burden of smoking on taxpayers, employers and governments translates to $593 for every adult and child in the state, according to the study.
They all want the same job, but the four candidates for Superior mayor seemed pretty much in agreement during a debate on Monday evening about the main challenge facing their city. "Of course it's economic development," said candidate Mike Herrick, a current city councilor, when asked by the Superior Telegram's Shelley Nelson what his top priority would be as mayor. With different nuances, all four candidates talked about the need for growth, economic development and improved housing as key challenges facing whichever of them is chosen to replace retiring Mayor Bruce Hagen.
A pill taken once a day has high success rates in preventing HIV infection, experts say, but word isn't getting out to some of the people who need it the most. "Many who can benefit from PrEP aren't taking it," said Japhet Nyakundi of the Minnesota Department of Health. "It's under prescribed and underutilized."
The musicians performing Saturday with retiring College of St. Scholastica faculty member LeAnn House have played concerts together for decades. Surely, they know what to expect? "I say you never know until you do it, until you're on the spot," Shelley Gruskin said.
LeAnn House and Shelley Gruskin can trace their lineage at the College of St. Scholastica to the late Sister Monica Laughlin, who taught in the school's music department for 60 years. Laughlin spearheaded Scholastica's emphasis on Early Music, or music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods predating the large-scale orchestras of later classical music. Under Laughlin, St. Scholastica became the first school in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in Early Music, House said.
A conversation with Drs. John and Linda Van Etta tends to be wide-ranging, with numerous topics explored and names dropped. What follows is a sampling. Smoking bans John authored a column in favor of Duluth’s smoke-free ordinance for the News Tribune in 2000, and later he testified before a committee on the statewide legislation. He was asked to testify, he said, because there was a snowstorm and no one else could get to St. Paul.
When asked about Dr. John Van Etta’s reputation for fighting insurance companies, longtime colleague Dr. Ray Christensen responded wryly. “John’s a big man,” Christensen said. “He’s not afraid. He was never afraid to stand up against adversity.” At 6 foot, 7 inches, and solidly built, Van Etta is a big man physically. But he and his wife, Dr. Linda Van Etta — both of whom retired from St. Luke’s hospital within the past six months — also share a bigger-than-life reputation in the medical community.
In retirement, Drs. John and Linda Van Etta say they plan to continue a fight they began a decade ago. Their target: "secure exams" required of physicians seeking to extend their board certifications. "A secure exam means you have nothing other than your head and a pencil," John said. "Right," Linda agreed. "Which is not the way we want physicians to practice now. I mean, in my Smartphone I have an entire textbook of medicine."