Letter: Health care has changed over time

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 22, 2017

I gave birth to my daughter, Angie, at Naeve Hospital in 1978. She was born premature, and everyone thought she was going to die — everyone except me. To this day, I believe there are three reasons Angie survived: she was just an ambulance ride away from the Mayo Clinic and St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, she had Dr. Karan as her pediatrician since birth and God answered my prayers.

Things like health care are supposed to improve over time. Except for Mayo One, my daughter’s health care and our experience would have been worse in 2017. Angie would not have a pediatrician from day one, or even at all (since there currently are no pediatricians in Albert Lea). Throughout her childhood, Angie saw Dr. Karan every time she was taken to the clinic or hospital (except once when Dr. Karan was on vacation). Even if we chose a terrific primary provider today, most likely she would not be able to consistently see the same provider; there would be no continuity of care, and the provider wouldn’t understand her medical history like Dr. Karan did. Instead of putting patients first and working to alleviate these problems, Mayo is taking necessary health care services out of our community.

Given Mayo’s proposed plans, if I were to have Angie in 2020, things would only be worse. There is a good chance my obstetrician would have missed many of my prenatal appointments, Angie’s birth, or both. I would have to drive 25 minutes to give birth. I would’ve been 25 minutes away from family who rushed to see Angie before she left by ambulance, 25 minutes away from my belongings that I had to pick up when I was discharged and rushing to join my baby in Rochester and 25 minutes away from our pastor who baptized Angie at Naeve Hospital. Every time I rushed Angie to the clinic or ER, I would have had to worry if we would have to pay for an ambulance ride if she had to spend the night. During the week that Angie had croup and I spent most of my time with her in the hospital, I would have been driving 25 minutes each way to visit her, taking even more time away from my 4-year-old son and spending more money on gas (money that we didn’t have).

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I am fortunate that Angie was just an ambulance ride away from Rochester, that she had Dr. Karan as her pediatrician and that God answered my prayers. I am also fortunate that my daughter was born in 1978.

Diane Hanson

Albert Lea