Trinity Regional Eyecare – Western Dakota receives New Equipment through RCGF Grant

Eye cart

The Trinity Health Foundation has received a grant from the Rural Community Grant Fund to purchase two surgical eye carts for Trinity Health–Western Dakota, in Williston.

The addition of these carts has proven to be beneficial as the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Trinity Health–Western Dakota has grown significantly with more eye cases and new surgical services, explained Mark Raymond, MD, an ophthalmologist with Trinity Regional Eyecare–Western Dakota. Eye surgeries performed include cataracts, corneal transplants, LASIK, glaucoma surgeries, and pediatric cases.

These surgical carts assist the providers in offering patients the best possible care. A surgical cart differs from a surgical table as the cart includes a specific headrest that helps keep the patient’s head stable – an important component, when you consider the small area the surgeon has to work with.

The Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) at Trinity Health–Western Dakota, which houses Trinity Regional Eyecare–Western Dakota and Trinity Community Clinic–Western Dakota, had one surgical cart, but two surgery rooms.

Through the grant, the ASC was able to replace the existing surgical cart, as well as add another, so now each surgical room is equipped with a cart.

“The extra eye cart allows two rooms to run simultaneously, increasing flexibility and efficiency,” Dr. Raymond added. “Operating room staff find they have more time to prepare for incoming cases, wait times for patients have decreased significantly and urgent or emergency cases are better accommodated.” (Trinity Regional Eyecare–Western Dakota will gain a second ophthalmologist, Puneet Braich, MD, in July.)

The Rural Community Grant Fund was established by AgriBank and its North Dakota Farm Credit partners to support communities impacted by mineral development in the Bakken region.

“We are grateful that through the Rural Community Grant Fund, AgriBank, Farm Credit Services of Mandan and Farm Credit Services of North Dakota, are supporting the Trinity Health Foundation in its mission to assist Trinity Health in creating a system of care with the most significant impact on health and wellness throughout the region,” said Al Evon, director of the Trinity Health Foundation.

“In no small measure, the contribution from the Trinity Health Foundation has had far reaching affects, for which we, on behalf of our patients, are very thankful,” Dr. Raymond said.

Comprehensive Medicine: Traditional Family Medicine Returns

Kimberly Krohn, MD

Kimberly Krohn, MD

Kwanza Devlin, MD

Kwanza Devlin, MD

In the words of Kwanza Devlin, MD, a family medicine practitioner at Trinity Health, comprehensive medicine covers patients from “cradle to the grave, and everything in between.”

Devlin and her colleague, Kimberly Krohn, MD – both are the newest additions to Trinity Health’s Family Medicine team – offer comprehensive care as a way to increase the care a patient receives, while maintaining a level of continuity.

Through comprehensive care, Krohn and Devlin can see a patient in their office, at the patient’s home, in the hospital, or in a nursing home. Krohn describes this as “patient-centered care,” where the needs of the patient are met, regardless of geography or the level of care that is needed. “It’s having a view that patient care is not limited by the boundaries of time and space.”

It harkens back to the days where you would call for the doctor, who would come to the home with his doctor’s bag and treat what ails you; Devlin and Krohn hope that this traditional form of family medicine can return.

“It’s going back to the way things used to be, when you had your doctor and that was the doctor for your family,” Devlin said. “The doctor knew your family inside and out, and they would, if needed to, make a home visit. If you went to the nursing home, they would see you there. If you had a delivery, they would be there for that. You don’t see that very much anymore.”

“After 10 years of being a doctor for someone, you are never the same doctor you were when you first met them,” Krohn added, noting that the doctor grows around the patients’ needs while getting to know them, inside and out.

“A Little Bit of Everything”
With comprehensive medicine, “we do a little bit of everything. We take care of everybody in a variety of settings, regardless of what issues they are having,” Devlin said. “For me, I think that is the way medicine should be. Of course, I’m partial. This is an amazing way to care for people.”

Through this, Devlin and Krohn are able to “do procedures, the deliveries, the prenatal care, psych issues that come up, chronic illnesses like diabetes and blood pressure, but also the acute things like the broken arm and the abscess,” Devlin said.

“I love it. I never get bored, that’s for sure,” she added. “Honestly, when I go to open a door for a patient, I don’t know what’s behind the door. It could be anything from depression to anxiety, a yeast infection to a baby who stubbed their little toe. It literally could be anything, and I love that challenge as well.”

Despite the fact that they see patients for a variety of maladies, that does not mean that they see every patient.

“We have to work really closely with our specialists. When there are things outside of my scope, I’ll definitely refer them to a specialist,” Devlin says. “For example, if one of my patients had a really high-risk pregnancy that I shouldn’t manage on my own, I’m going to get the OB/GYN providers involved. I’ll still be there when she delivers and take care of her and her baby at that stage.”

Krohn noted that some patients may feel their health care experience has become “depersonalized.” However, with the comprehensive approach, she hopes that it combats those feelings.

“The care is all about them,” Krohn said.

Kimberly Krohn, MD, and Kwanza Devlin, MD, have offices at Health Center-Town & Country, Suite 104, located at 831 South Broadway in Minot. To make an appointment, please call 857-5464.

Community Resource Coordinator Receives Eagle Award

Annette Funk

Annette Funk

Annette Funk, a community resource coordinator with Trinity Health’s Community Resource Department, was nominated to be a recipient of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eagle Award. She was given the award on February 14, 2017.

Annette was nominated by a person who acts as power of attorney for a disabled cousin.

“Unbeknownst to me, his prescription coverage was dropped,” the nomination letter read. “I contacted Annette at 9 a.m. and before noon, she had returned my phone call to tell me exactly how to get the meds my cousin needs for his complex medical needs at a significantly discounted rate. This took an enormous weight off my shoulders, as taking care of his affairs takes a significant amount of time on a daily basis.”

The nomination letter adds: “Annette is the epitome of excellent customer service and went well above what was expected.”

How Cardiopulmonary Rehab can Help

In June 2000, Jonathan Starks had a heart attack.

When he was initially approached with the idea of attending cardiopulmonary rehabilitation through Trinity Health, he turned it down. After all, he was only in his forties, he said. “I lived in Ryder and I thought I didn’t need to go in.”

Starks had an angioplasty, a procedure to widen arteries or veins in his heart. He also began to exercise and lose some weight, and left it at that.

Fast forward 16 years later to November 2016, when Starks, now 62 years old, had another heart attack. “As far as I knew, I was doing well,” he said. However, there was some blockage and he was feeling discomfort.

This time, doctors put two stents in. And this time, when a representative from Trinity Health’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation department came to talk to him about the program, he agreed to go. “When you’re 62 and have a more serious event, I felt I needed to do this as a point of accountability to get me on the right track, to take better care of myself,” he said.

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation can do just that. The goal of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is to build strength for cardiac and pulmonary patients. While the method of doing it is different, both have the same overall goal, explained Heidi Zaderaka, RRT, manager of Trinity Health’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation department. “We guide them to where they want to be,” she said. “We give them the tools, the exercise, and the education.”

A few weeks after leaving the hospital, Starks began cardiopulmonary rehab. “They’re very attentive to you and really want to help you do things in the right manner,” Starks said. “I would have worked out too hard, but they start you at a good pace, then you build up from there.”

His current routine includes 20 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the reclining eliptical, and now 10 minutes on the rowing machine, “which is a little more challenging,” he said.

Patients attend rehab for anywhere from three to 36 one-hour sessions. Rehab is available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; patients are encouraged to attend those three days a week, Zaderaka said.

“When I started, I got in three times a week,” Starks said, noting that the winter weather over the Christmas and New Years holidays slowed him down a little bit and he wasn’t able to make it, coming from Ryder. Starks’ plan is to do 30 sessions of cardiopulmonary rehab and, now, he starts to do workouts at home as well.

“This was a great jump start,” he said of rehab. “For me, I need something to keep me accountable.”

Now that he knows what he can accomplish, Starks said that he can stay consistent, either at rehab or on his own. Once he finishes with cardiac rehab, Starks said that he could, down the road, come in so staff could “check me out and see how I’m progressing.” Starks’ wife, Pam, has enrolled in the spouse’s program, which he says is “a nice support and benefit to me.”

The cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program is highly recommended by Trinity’s cardiologists and pulmonologists. Cardiac patients may have – like Starks – suffered a heart attack, or coronary artery bypass graft surgery, valve surgery, or perhaps are in certain stages of congestive heart failure or awaiting a heart transplant. “Research confirms the benefits of cardiac rehab, including increased longevity through lifestyle changes, improved stamina and strength through exercise, and an improvement in confidence and a sense of well-being,” Zaderaka states.

Similar results are seen with pulmonary patients who have one of the following diagnosis: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary Hypertension, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Interstitial Lung Disease, lung cancer and lung cancer surgery, and those awaiting lung transplant. “As with our cardiac patients, we focus on good education along with the exercise,” Zaderaka says. “Pulmonary Rehab helps our patients to do their activities of daily living and participate in the things they enjoy with less shortness of breath. Although we cannot improve their lung condition, we can help them through education, strengthening and conditioning and by providing good emotional support.”

Once patients complete their initial program in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, they may continue on with a maintenance program, through the Trinity Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, or through a post-rehab program offered at the Minot Family YMCA. “If you question whether to do this or not, I would highly recommend it,” Starks said. “It will get you started on a personal path of health and fitness. You can’t find a better group to work with who will encourage you and help you with your goals.”

For more information, please call Trinity’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation department at 857-2338.

Mystery, Solved

It was an important moment for Dee Carico.

For 17 years, she had served as convenience store manager of the Cenex in Berthold, North Dakota, and she was part of a team to get a new store opened in nearby Carpio. Even after retiring, she enthusiastically agreed to participate in the Carpio location’s open house; it was the completion of a project Carico wanted to see through.

On December 10, 2015, Carico was enjoying that open house when she felt a strange sensation. Standing there, talking to customers, she had an odd feeling that started in her cheek, and then traveled down her arm into her hand.

“I thought, ‘What is going on?’” Carico says. “I never felt anything like that before.”

She had three such episodes that night. “It didn’t last very long, and it would go as fast as it would come, so I don’t think many people were aware of it that night.”

These episodes were seizures, and they were uncontrollable. At first, they happened a few times a day. A week later, she was having them six or seven times a day. Then, 10 times a day.

The seizures lasted through the holidays, and were bad enough that Carico wasn’t able to fully enjoy her time with her 13 grandchildren. Her face contortions were “ugly to watch,” she says, and she gradually started to lose control in many aspects in her life.

“I had no control over my right hand- and I’m right-handed,” she says. “I was getting them 24 hours a day,” and it was becoming difficult to eat and sleep. So she started seeing doctors, starting with a chiropractor.

Meed Dr. Kordlar

Carico’s chiropractor suggested she see a neurologist. As luck would have it, a classmate of Carico’s works as a nurse for Bahram Kordlar, MD, a neurologist at Trinity Health.

“My seizures were a minute and a half apart, 24 hours a day,” Carico says. “I could barely get a breath, let alone do anything else. I was pretty desperate by the time I got there.”

Kordlar recognized her symptoms: head tilting to the right, hand twisting, repetitive uncontrolled movement in her right upper extremity. He suspected a condition he had read about: autoimmune encephalitis. Encephalitis means inflammation of the brain; in traditional encephalitis, the culprit is a virus or bacteria. In autoimmune encephalitis, the body’s immune system essentially attacks the brain.

“When I first met with her, I suspected that must be it” Kordlar says. “I started her on the right treatment and continued my diagnostic work-up.”

Initially, Carico’s MRI findings appeared to be unusual for autoimmune encephalitis, but further research revealed that this sometimes happens, Kordlar says. He consulted with physicians from Mayo Clinic through eConsult, via the Mayo Clinic Care Network (MCCN), to get their opinion. ” I wanted their opinion because their neuroimmunologists have done studies on this rare disorder.” Carico traveled to Mayo Clinic for a PET scan; further testing confirmed Kordlar’s diagnosis.

“Mayo completely agreed with everything he was doing,” Carico says. “This is a remarkable man. He ran test after test, and he had it pretty well figured out.”

Within a few weeks’ time of seeing Kordlar, Carico was on the road to recovery, with the help of medication and vitamins. Her seizures slowed, and then stopped.

Feeling Better

Early diagnosis and treatment are critical when it comes to the brain. If Carico’s condition hadn’t been caught in time, it could have progressed to affect her memory, leading to possible dementia, Kordlar says.

Carico says she and Kordlar have a “wonderful relationship.” She sees him for regular checkups, and if she has a questions, she calls his office and he calls her back.

She and her husband are making up for lost time. When she was suffering from seizures, she couldn’t go many places.

“I am making up for having to stay home, and so is my husband,” says Carico, who is now retired. “We’re glad to to have our normal life back.”

Kordlar made all the difference, Carico says. Not only did he cure her seizures, but he was a skilled communicator who explained even the most complex medical topics in a way Carico and her husband could grasp.

“He is a hero to me,” she says.


To see Dr. Kordlar, a patient must be referred from their physician. Call 701-857-DR4U (3748) to make an appointment with a primary care provider.

Hovdestad Gift was a Godsend for Cancer Patients

Patients trying to make it to the Trinity CancerCare Center for treatment during the December winter blast were thrilled at a very generous gift that came earlier in the fall from Gary and Carol Hovdestad, Pam and Tom Karpenko and Jodi, John and Olivia Stewart.

The Hovdestad family gave dozens of hotel and restaurant gift cards to be distributed to cancer patients as needed. “We saw a lot of cards go out the door the first couple of weeks in December,” said Carol Mohagen, a social worker from Trinity CancerCare Center. “It was a lifesaver for patients, especially those having to travel long distances.”

The Hovdestads know what it’s like to be supported during a family health crisis. In 2007, their son and brother, Brent Hovdestad, died of complications following a stroke. It was the generosity of friends and associates that kept them going. “Our family…spent 11 days in the ICU waiting room,” recalls Carol Hovdestad, Brent’s mom. “During that time, we were blessed with his many friends who took amazing care of us in so many ways.”

Since then the Hovdestads have made it their mission to extend support to families in similar situations, creating the Brent Hovdestad Legacy Fund through the Minot Area Community Foundation. “Each year we share comfort and care from the earnings of this fund,” Carol Hovdestad said.

“My parents felt really good about the contribution,” said Pam Karpenko, Brent’s sister. “They felt like Brent’s legacy will be able to truly support and offer hope to those who may be struggling.”

Each gift card is accompanied by this message: “Through the generosity of our friends at the Grand Hotel, Hyatt House and Sleep Inn, we are able to pay forward the kindness we received during a very emotional and difficult time for our family. We have chosen to offer you a small show of support. Know that you are not traveling this journey alone. We honor you. ”

Dozens of these gift cards for the Grand Hotel, Hyatt House, Sleep Inn, Perkins, and Splashdown have been helping Trinity cancer patients cope with the winter weather, thanks to the Hovdestad family of Minot in memory of their beloved son and brother, Brent Hovdestad. Pictured from left are Al Evon, Trinity Foundation; Pam and Tom Karpenko, sister and brother-in-law of Brent; Gary and Carol Hovdestad, Brent’s parents; Shane Jordan, Trinity CancerCare; Cody McManigal,Trinity Foundation; Olivia and Jodi Stewart, niece and sister of Brent; and Carol Mohagen, CancerCare social worker.

Dozens of these gift cards for the Grand Hotel, Hyatt House, Sleep Inn, Perkins,
and Splashdown have been helping Trinity cancer patients cope with the winter
weather, thanks to the Hovdestad family of Minot in memory of their beloved son
and brother, Brent Hovdestad. Pictured from left are Al Evon, Trinity Foundation; Pam and Tom Karpenko, sister and brother-in-law of Brent; Gary and Carol
Hovdestad, Brent’s parents; Shane Jordan, Trinity CancerCare; Cody McManigal,Trinity Foundation; Olivia and Jodi Stewart, niece and sister of Brent; and Carol Mohagen, CancerCare social worker.