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Surgeon Goes the Extra Mile(s) for Patient
March brought heavy snowfall this year, affecting our patients’ ability to get to appointments. But one special surgeon—and hardy Minnesotan—wasn't going to let a snowstorm interfere with patient care.
No way to get there
Lorraine Scatieno was scheduled to have a surgery that would help in her three-day-a-week dialysis treatments. She’d lined up family members to drive her home after her surgery and abstained from eating eight hours before her morning surgery. But a snow emergency that day cancelled schools and local cab service. Though she lives just a few miles from the hospital, Lorraine, 90, had no way to get to her appointment.
Above and beyond
“My staff texted me that Lorraine couldn’t make it,” says William Omlie, MD, a surgeon with Minnesota Vascular Clinic. “I thought I could pick her up and still do the surgery.” Because dialysis occupies a lot of a patient’s time, delaying this surgery would have impacted Lorraine’s life for a month or more, says Dr. Omlie.
“Dr. Omlie called and said, ‘I’m coming to get you,’” says Lorraine. She wondered if this could be a joke. But a few minutes later, the doctor pulled into Lorraine’s unplowed driveway, knocked on her kitchen door and asked for a shovel. “There he was with his white coat on, and he started to shovel the driveway,” says Lorraine. “He kept saying what a nice shovel it was and how the snow didn’t stick to it.”
Lorraine says she felt like a celebrity when Dr. Omlie picked her up at home and dropped her off at the valet parking entrance. “The weather was so upsetting to me, and then to have everyone be so gracious and so kind … I can't say enough good things about Dr. Omlie,” she says. “He doesn’t flaunt anything; he was just as humble as could be. I admired him to begin with, and I could keep on talking about him because I was so impressed.”
Dr. Omlie says his team gets to know patients and their families and prides itself on providing exceptional patient care and experience. Denise Brown, medical assistant, says Dr. Omlie’s patients love him. “They just really appreciate his time and sense of humor. He’s one of those guys that steps up to the plate. He spends a lot of time with patients and doesn’t rush them in and out.”
Dr. Omlie is predictably modest about this patient story. “I just shoveled out her walkway and brought her in. She was so surprised and amazed. But it was just snow. It’s not like we had a tornado,” he says. “I would go pick up my mother, so why not go pick up Lorraine?”
Ronald Shares His Story with PAD
Watch Ronald's story about his journey with vascular disease.