Our Patients

COVID-19: Protect Yourself

By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health

Coronavirus, Sars-CoV-2 or Covid 19, words, that at Thanksgiving, were unfamiliar and nonexistent. Now, they are part of our daily conversation, seeped deeply into every part of our day.

Now that we recognize the name, now that it is in our state and our county, what can we do about it?

WE NEED TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

Our best protection is not to get it. This is why we’ve created “well clinics” in Garnavillo and Edgewood. This is why it is so important to avoid contact with people outside your own home. If you must go out, practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from other people.

The best ways to prevent infection and spread of respiratory diseases, like COVID-19, include:

• Staying home if you are sick

• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

• Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze

• Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• Disinfecting surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

• If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care provider before coming in. Symptoms to look for are: chills, fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, chest pain and shortness of breath.

• 2-1-1 is a phone line available across Iowa to assist with general questions on COVID-19.

If you develop trouble breathing, high fevers, chest pain, confusion, lethargy, blue lips or face you should seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Department immediately.

Be well and take care of each other. Follow the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the guidance of the state of Iowa, continue social distancing and stay local. And, please continue to visit our Facebook page and our website for updated information as recommendations change daily.

GMHC Opens “Ill” Clinic and Urges Patients to Call Ahead

The Guttenberg Cornerstone Family Practice clinic is now open for ill patient visits ONLY and our clinics in Garnavillo and Edgewood are “Well” clinics, open for our healthy patients ONLY. Guttenberg hours have also changed to Monday through Friday: 8am to 5pm, no Saturdays.

All patients should call first to schedule an appointment, 563-252-2141, before going to either an “ill” clinic or a “well” clinic. If you have an appointment scheduled at one of our three clinics (Guttenberg, Edgewood or Garnavillo) you will be contacted by our office.

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care provider.

2-1-1 is a phone line available across Iowa to assist with general questions on COVID-19.

We are evaluating our clinic access on a daily basis to meet our patient’s needs. As information changes rapidly, please see our GMHC Facebook page or our website for updates.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES:

GMHC is now limited to one entrance. The main hospital entrance will now be the only entrance used and the Cornerstone Family Practice clinic entrance will be closed. Clinic patients should come through main hospital entrance. All emergencies will still go to the emergency entrance.

GMHC has created a COVID-19 resource page on the website. Visit our website for GMHC updates.

i-SERV is the Iowa Department of Public Health’s secure online registry for individuals wishing to volunteer in the event of a large scale disaster or public health emergency. i-SERV is part of a federal e ort to coordinate and assemble volunteers for all types of emergencies. Please register online at https://www.iaserv.org.

GMHC is again accepting fabric masks. Please call 252-1121 to arrange drop o , please do not enter the hospital.

GMHC is also accepting donations of factory made personal protective equipment (N95 masks, unopened boxes of nitrate gloves, gowns or face shields) please call 252-1121 to arrange drop-off, please do not enter the hospital.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we protect our patients and staff.

Do You Know the Signs?

It started as slight uncomfortable pressure in his chest the evening of August 28, 2019.

Nothing too serious. He thought perhaps it was indigestion from his supper. He took one aspirin with two Tums.

And then, Mark Mather began sweating, and the pressure didn’t subside. He and his wife Becky decided it was time to visit the Emergency Department at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics.

 

“When I arrived in the ED, the discomfort was greatly reduced,” recalls Mark. “In fact, I apologized for taking up their time. ED Provider Beth Sadewasser assured me that I’d made the right decision to come get checked out  and I was immediately taken to an emergency room for tests.” 

 

Mark was evaluated with blood tests and an EKG. Beth consulted with a cardiologist confirming that Mark had indeed had a heart attack and he was transported by ambulance immediately to Dubuque.

At 7:30 a.m. on August 29, Mark had an angiogram revealing he had partial blockage of two coronary arteries, which was corrected with the placement of two stents. “I’m so thankful I knew the warning signs and went to the ED at GMHC right away,” said Mark.

After one night in the hospital, and a week of recovery, Mark began cardiac rehabilitation at GMHC three days a week for the next six weeks. “The entire staff was very helpful and caring during my rehab. They thoroughly answered all of my questions and worked closely with my cardiologist in Dubuque. The level of professionalism and knowledge was very comforting,” said Mark. “GMHC rehab helped heal my heart, giving me more energy for the activities I enjoy.”

Cardiac rehab patient Mark Mather with Respiratory Therapist Amanda Miller.

Amanda Miller, one of Mark’s therapist commented, “My job as a therapist at GMHC is so rewarding. It is great to inspire patients like Mark to work hard, knowing that together as a staff, we make a real difference in our patients’ health.”

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kills about 2,300 a day. Obesity in both youth and adults is at an all-time high, youth are being diagnosed with heart disease earlier than ever and people just ZIP codes apart can live 25 years less than their neighbors because of disparities in health. American Heart Month is vital for awareness, but the American Heart Association urges people to take care of their hearts year-round. 

Consider the facts:

  • Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Heart attacks affect more people every year than the population of Dallas, Texas.
  • 72% of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease
  • 83% believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything.
  • And 58% put no effort into improving their heart health.

While science is advancing medicine in exciting new ways, unhealthy lifestyle choices combined with rising obesity rates in both kids and adults have hindered progress fighting heart disease.

The good news is that heart disease is preventable in most cases with healthy choices, which include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week and getting regular checkups. 

Other than being older, Mark had no other risk factors for a heart attack.

 

“Knowing the warning signs and symptoms may have saved my life,” says Mark. “I knew to get checked out, and I’m very pleased with the emergency services I received at GMHC. Our community is fortunate to have the hospital right here.”

 

Heart Attack Symptoms

CHEST DISCOMFORT: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

DISCOMFORT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE UPPER BODY: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

SHORTNESS OF BREATH: with or without chest discomfort.

OTHER SIGNS: may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. 

Stroke Symptoms: Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.

FACE DROOPING: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

ARM WEAKNESS: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH DIFFICULTY: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

TIME TO CALL 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

SUDDEN LOSS OF RESPONSIVENESS: No response to tapping on shoulders.

NO NORMAL BREATHING: The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

 

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David’s Story

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Holy Cross native, David Errthum, recently visited with members of the GMHC trauma team who assisted in saving his hand after an accident this past May. (L-R): Amy Sadewasser, Megan Borrett, Dr. Daniel Mansfield, David, Paul Decker, Shelly Klein, ARNP, Dr. Andy Smith, Deb Preston and Brandie Thomkins.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 22, David Errthum was at home putting the final touches on a family room remodeling project. His youngest daughter’s graduation party was at their home that Saturday and he only had two pieces of trim to add to complete the room.

David was sawing the wooden trim with a 12” chop saw, when the wood moved. Focused on the cut of the board, David reached his left arm over to hold it, when he sawed through the wood and then nearly severed his hand. David yelled for his wife and daughter, who called 911. Knowing he was in trouble, he wrapped his arm in dishtowels and kneeled on the steps of his deck, applying pressure.

When the Holy Cross ambulance crew arrived they placed a tourniquet on Dave’s arm and had him hold it on ice as they rushed him to Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics (GMHC).

The ambulance gave GMHC notice that they were to arrive shortly with a severely injured man. The trauma team was activated and was waiting in the Emergency Department when the ambulance arrived. The injury was assessed as a nearly complete amputation of David’s left hand. Only about an inch of tissue kept his hand attached to his arm.

While waiting for the medical helicopter to arrive to transport him to Iowa City, further evaluation was done. Dr. Daniel Mansfield, general surgeon, wanted to do whatever was possible to give David the best chance of saving his hand.

 

“My surgeons in Iowa City were very impressed with the response time and work done here at GMHC. They credit you all for saving my hand.”

 

“We gently released the tourniquet and were able to control the arterial bleeding. Then we were able to see if there was any ow from the other artery making it to the hand. And amazingly there was! We knew that this would give him the best chance to save his hand,” said Mansfield.

David’s hand and arm were stabilized in a splint and he was prepared for helicopter transport.

A surgical team at the University of Iowa spent nearly eight hours reconstructing and reattaching David’s hand.

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Waving his healing arm, David rode in the Guttenberg ambulance with Paul Decker during the Holy Cross parade in August.

When David awoke, he was surrounded by his wife and all four of his daughters. He was released two days later, on Friday, May 24.

With the overwhelming help of his friends and family, the graduation party for his daughter went on as planned the next day, becoming an appreciation party too.

David recently had an opportunity to visit with the trauma team at GMHC who helped him.

“Thank you,” said David gratefully as he showed them his arm. “My surgeons in Iowa City were very impressed with the response time and work done here at GMHC. They credit you all for saving my hand.”

David’s arm is still in a compression glove and a splint, and with continued physical therapy, he anticipates full use of it once again.

When reflecting on the accident, David was overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who has assisted him during his recovery. “I’m a pretty independant guy,” he said. “I’m not good at having to rely on others, but this accident gave me so many opportunities to spend time with my family and friends because I had to depend on them. I’m humbled by all who have helped me and will be forever grateful.”

Walking Her Way to Better Health

Cindy Niehaus walks alongside GMHC Physical Therapist, Joel Gourley, with the Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club on Guttenberg’s River Walk.

When Cindy Niehaus learned about a free wellness club sponsored by GMHC that involved walking, she was ready to join. Cindy attended the initial meeting of the Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club, led by Physical Therapist Joel Gourley, last March.

“I knew I needed to do something to improve my overall physical health, and I really enjoy walking,” said Cindy. “I needed accountability partners to keep me committed, and the physical therapy department and Health Coaches were great encouragement for me! We walked twice a week during some very frigid spring days, but I bundled up and walked.”

When Cindy began with the club, she had to stop and rest frequently because of shortness of breath. After walking regularly, Cindy has improved her endurance, now completing the entire stretch (over a mile) without stopping and even while carrying on a conversation.
 

“This is such a beautiful path to walk, right here along the river. I’m very thankful GMHC started up this club to keep me motivated. I feel great!” Cindy Niehaus, Guttenberg Galloper Member

 
To learn more about the Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club, call 563-252-5527.

The Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5pm at the Gazebo through October and will begin again in the spring. Walkers, joggers, runners are all welcome to join. Membership is free.