Published 10:00 am Sunday, January 15, 2017

Women Veterans of Freeborn Co.

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Women Veterans of Freeborn County met Jan. 4 at American Legion Post No. 56 in Albert Lea.

Those present included Ruth Perry, Judi Olson, Deanna Luedtke, Sandy Maiden and Pat Johannsen.

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Maiden reported that the group donated over 140 pounds to the local food pantry in 2016. There were also donations that were not weighed. In addition, cash donations are sometimes given when members forget to bring a nonperishable food item.

The group had a lot of memories and gifts of the holiday season to share with each other.

The treasurer’s report was given.

Luedtke read an article of concern to all veterans and the general public as well. The article was entitled, “12 ways the health care system may be harming you.” According to the article, it is estimated that 100,000 hospitalized people die each year from preventable errors.

The information below summarizes each of the points of the article.

• Wrong diagnosis: Doctors don’t just miss rare conditions, they occasionally fail to diagnose common problems like pneumonia or cancer. Autopsies and medical records suggest that up to 10 percent of patient deaths were preventable.

• Sloppy practices: Simple mistakes, such as operating on the wrong leg, doesn’t happen much anymore. But errors can still happen at higher levels of complexity. This may include a surgeon operating on the wrong vertebrae because an x-ray wasn’t clear. Patients cannot be treated like an assembly line. There are too many complex issues in people and medicine to be aware of.

• Lax hygiene practices: Infection prevention is one of the most striking success stories of the past 16 years. There is still a lot of room for improvement. According to the article, about 1 in 25 hospital patients are fighting a bug that they acquired during  treatment.

• Poor communication: Details matter yet often get lost with the tremendous amount of caregivers involved in patient care. And patients often forget details that should be passed along or don’t carry through with follow-up visits.

• Dismal discharge planning: Going home is one of the most dangerous and challenging areas of medicine. Patients are still not feeling great and it may be hard for them to understand everything they need to do. As the group discussed a few months ago, some states have passed legislation requiring a family caregiver be designated, and trained if necessary, for care after discharge.

• Drug blunders: Adverse drug events are still among the most common types of preventable health care harm, according to the article. May area for errors include ordering the right drug in the right dosage, passing that information on accurately to the pharmacist, filling the order correctly and giving the right dose at the right time.

• Knowledge gaps: Doctors are not stupid but it is very difficult for all of them to keep up with the tremendous amounts of changes taking place in the field of medicine on a daily basis. With constant change it is challenging for them to keep up.

• Dangerous doctors: Truly terrible doctors are rare but they are out there. According to the article, some problems include blatant negligence, practicing under the influence, dealing narcotics and sexual misconduct with patients. About 1 percent of all doctors account for about a third of all malpractice claims.

• Buried information: Even after 16 years, it is often very difficult to find basic information about how often a doctor has caused harm or how often he or she practices surgery. Hospitals are also slow to disclose errors — even when reporting is mandated. According to the article, one study found that only about one third of serious events were actually posted in the medical records.

• An outpatient blackhole: Almost all medical error reports come from hospitals. The article states very little is reported from private practices, outpatient surgical suites, nursing homes, diagnostic centers and rehab clinics.

• Small thinking: Safety systems tend to be a piecemeal. What is needed is a top to bottom safety priority.

• Clinician burnout: Caring for patients can be a challenge. Hospitalized patients are sicker and stays are shorter. Electronic medical records can be a huge headache. Share weariness can dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. It’s difficult to have a happy patient when you had an unhappy doctor or caregiver.

The group also discussed the quality of Veterans Affairs care. Maiden will invite Rob Ruehle or another staff member to the next meeting to clarify some issues.

All members are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the food pantry after each monthly meeting. Maiden delivered this month’s donations.

The next scheduled meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 1 at the American Legion in Albert Lea. All women veterans from all services are welcome to join the group. For more information, contact Luedtke at 414-530-3982.

Trinity Lutheran Church Women

The Christmas meeting for the Trinity Lutheran Church Women took place Dec. 7 in Trinity Hall. Pat Goldman played Christmas songs as people arrived. Co-President Coreen Johnson greeted the guests.

Devotions were given by LeAnn Juveland. Her focus was on problems being part of life.

The offering was collected.

Goldman played the table prayer, “Be present at our table Lord.”

Desserts were served by Mary Circle.

Johnson gave greetings from Marlene Wright. Both women said thank you to all and said they enjoyed working with everyone.

Thank yous for poinsettias were read from various people who received cheer gifts.

Goldman discussed the triennial gathering, which is July 13 to July 16 in Minneapolis. There will be a bus for all three days.

Nanciana Jensen presented the budget for 2017. It remains the same with an increase of $50 for 2017 for Lutheran World Relief. Erna Berthelsen moved to accept the budget with a second by Eleanor Schou. The motion carried. Joan Mattick was presented a check for $200 for the sewing ladies ministry, plus a check for $10 for Lutheran World Relief kits.

Phyllis Tavis and Johnson were given a special thank you as they stepped down from the TLCW board. Nanciana Jensen will deliver Wright’s thank you.

It was announced that from 1968 to 2016 there were 16,655 quilts and blankets sent to Lutheran World Relief.

The meeting moved to the church sanctuary where Jan Drews introduced and welcomed the high school chorale, which was led by Diane Heaney. The group sang, “Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming,” “T’was in the Moon of Wintertime,” “No Room, No Room in the Inn,” “Summer and Winter Carol,” “Joy to the World” and a Christmas mashup of songs.

The chorale and Heaney were thanked by those in attendance.

Duplicate Bridge Club

Duplicate Bridge Club played Jan. 3 at the Senior Center in Austin. Winners were Gene Muchow and Ron Peters, first place; Barb Engebretson and Orrin Roisen, second place; Edna Knobbe and Rick Stroup, third place; Millie Siever and Jim Fisher, fourth place; Gail and Ray Schmidt, fifth place; and Vandy Newman and Bud Higgins, sixth place.

Duplicate Bridge playsat 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the Senior Center in Austin. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to attend.