Three hospitals, two surgeries, one truth about economic development

2 Oct 2020

Blog, Letter from the CEO, Healthcare

I’m a brand new man. Well, almost.


For nearly two decades, I have endured pain in my heels and Achilles’ tendon. A day of exercise—running, basketball, or even a long walk—meant two days of shuffling down stairs sideways.


So three weeks ago, I headed up to Lakes Regional Healthcare and let Dr. Tim Blankers of Northwest Iowa Bone, Joint and Sports Surgeons do his thing. He removed some bone, shaved down the heel, and basically gave me a foot as delicate as a geisha’s.


The entire experience was great because it involved great people. Great nurses, great anesthetist, great doc. Shoot, great greeters at the door.


And here’s the thing—I would get the same service at every other hospital in the Corridor.


That’s not a guess; I actually know. Because before foot surgery, I had a preliminary physical with our family practitioner, Dr. Zachary Borus, one of the coolest cats in the Corridor. After checking my lung, heart and emotional health, he asked if anything else was bothering me.


“How do you know if you have a deviated septum?”


“Well, you ask me and I check,” he said.


Sure enough, I was not getting any air through my left nostril. (I knew when that other player ran over me in a pickup game in college something bad had happened. And I still think she should have been called for a charge.)


Dr. Borus’ team referred me over to Northwest Iowa Ear, Nose & Throat. So I headed off to Avera Holy Family Hospital in Estherville, where I met with Dr. Daniel Jorgensen. Once again, I was treated by everyone I met like a wounded king.


You might think my ramblings as a peripatetic patient were done, but no. Three days after my appointment with Dr. Jorgensen and just two weeks after the surgery on my foot, I was back in an operating room, this one at Spencer Hospital, to have my nose roto-rooted. You guessed it. The care was flawless.


Three hospitals, three would-be miserable experiences made entirely tolerable by great customer service. (No doubt I would find the same thing at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center.) And all of this in the time of COVID-19.


My point, beyond saying thank you to every single person involved in my surgeries, is that the strong health care system in the Corridor is a competitive advantage for economic development. So are our schools. And our roads, parks, and government services.


In a day when many jobs can be done from anywhere, people will choose to live in a place offering quality medical care, quality education, and quality amenities. In other words, quality of life.


The next time you encounter a doctor or nurse, a teacher, or a road crew guy out patching the street, recognize them as essential members of the team helping our region prosper.


As for me, I’ll have plenty more opportunities to show my appreciation. My left heel gets whacked in November.