Nurse and heart patient sees impact of local care

November 27, 2017

Natalie Haglund sees the great work Sanford Health does every day as both an employee and a patient.

This summer, Haglund, a LPN at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, was experiencing chest pain, tightness and pressure. As a regular patient for a rare lung disease, shortness of breath wasn’t unusual for Haglund, but this feeling was different.

Haglund’s regular doctor referred her to Dr. James Dewar at Sanford’s Heart and Vascular Center.

At 43 years old and without a history of heart problems, Haglund worried her discomfort wouldn’t be taken seriously. But those fears disappeared when she met Dr. Dewar.

From their first meeting, Haglund felt Dr. Dewar listened to her concerns and took time to diagnose her properly.

“The two biggest things are just taking the time and listening,” Haglund said. “Dr. Dewar amazed me with his thoroughness and how well he communicated with me.  It helped put me at ease.”

Dr. Dewar scheduled an angiogram to find the cause and successfully diagnosed Haglund with a heart abnormality just a few weeks after her initial discomfort.

“Dr. Dewar and his team, from check in to discharge, were wonderful,” Haglund said. “My procedure went so smoothly, and I received great, compassionate care. I feel so fortunate to have this care available in Bemidji.”

Haglund now takes a heart medication daily, but hasn’t had any more issues.

As a nurse and a patient, Haglund sees the importance of having excellent medical care in a rural community like Bemidji. Sanford Bemidji Medical Center is the largest facility in the area with the next closest facility more than two hours away.

“We have so many patients who would have issues traveling for care,” Haglund said. “Time off work is an issue. Cost of transport is an issue. The distance to the next largest facility is a big barrier to care.”

With heart care available in Bemidji, patients like Haglund can find a diagnosis for their issue quickly and without costly travel and loss of work.

“Being able to be seen and treated right here in Bemidji is just great,” she said. “Not only do we have access to care in Bemidji but a staff that goes above and beyond to provide excellent care.”