Essentia Health Facilities Meet Iron Chain Needs – Hometown Focus

Born and raised in Virginia, Larry Cuffe Jr. knows the challenges of accessing health care in rural settings. At 70, the current two-term mayor has lived in the Queen City for almost 15 years of his life, which he spent in law enforcement in the Twin Cities.

“This is my home; I love it here and I can’t imagine being anywhere else,” Cuffe said.

In 2021, Cuffe, who takes various prescription medications, noticed something was wrong with her health.

“I started to feel a little bad, and I noticed that for about a week,” Cuffe said. “My tongue and mouth were both a little numb. My throat had swollen and I was having difficulty swallowing.

Cuffe wasn’t sure what to make of it because he hadn’t been prescribed any new medications recently. So he went to the emergency room at Essentia Health-Virginia. There he said he received some of the best care he had ever received.

“I walked in and the receptionist was so warm and welcoming; she got me checked in right away,” Cuffe said.

After explaining what was wrong, Cuffe said she recognized he was in distress and began helping him immediately with the help of registered nurse Katie Pettinelli.

Once in the ER, Cuffe received an allergy shot, which immediately helped relieve her symptoms.

“All the nurses have been phenomenal,” Cuffe said. “There were two who were so efficient and so professional. They worked as a team and I really felt like I was well supported and listened to throughout the process.

Dr. Robert Zotti, Cuffe’s emergency physician, immediately asked him if he was taking any medication. Once they established that Cuffe was having a reaction to a blood pressure preventative medication, Dr. Zotti immediately prescribed him an alternative.

Cuffe said Dr. Zotti calmly and professionally explained that even though he’s been taking the drug for several years, people can develop a reaction over time, and that’s why he’s removing it.

“He also mentioned that it was smart of me to come in and get treatment because with a reaction like this I might not have woken up in the morning,” Cuffe said.

Cuffe was impressed with how quickly and efficiently things went through the ER.

“You just heard these horror stories from hospitals around the world about the long wait times, people coming in with major issues and having to wait hours to be seen,” Cuffe said. “It was not my case. The process was quick, thorough, and efficient, and I had zero wait times, although it was a more minor thing to deal with.

The Iron Rangers can count on Essentia Health-Virginia when you or your loved one need medical attention near you. Ours is a 30-bed hospital and a level IV trauma center. Whether you’re in our 24-hour emergency room or our birthing center, our caring and knowledgeable providers are there for you.

For non-emergency needs, visit Essentia Health-Virginia Clinic for Primary and Specialty Care. Our primary care providers see patients of all ages and can refer you to specialists onsite and offsite.

Convenient Flu Vaccination Options

Flu shots are recommended for anyone 6 months and older. They’re covered by most insurance and are one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu. As COVID-19 continues to put additional pressure on health systems, it is important to take all possible precautions against the disease.

With Essentia, you can get your flu shot in several ways, including:

• At a future appointment that
was already planned.
• In one of our many pharmacies, which
offer walk-in availability.
• At one of our other walk-in flu vaccination centres, find the complete list here.
• By making an appointment online or
via your MyChart patient portal at
Essentia Health clinic nearest you.
• By dialing (844) 663-1068.
With Essentia, you can receive
your flu and COVID-19 vaccine or other necessary
vaccinations during the same visit.

Reduce your risk of breast cancer or catch breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. Breast health specialists at Essentia Cancer Centers can help you maintain your breast health through education, screening, diagnosis and treatment.

Talk to your primary care provider or gynecologist about your breast health if you notice:

• Changes in breast size or shape.
• Painful or itchy sore on the nipple.
• Fluid from the nipple without
• Swelling, redness, warmth or darkening of the
• Lump, hard knot or thickening in the
chest or armpits.
• A change in skin texture, such as puckering

or dimples.
• Your nipple moves in or changes position
or form.
• New pain in a wrong place
a way.

Ideally, you should have a clinical breast exam every year by your primary care provider or gynecologist. During a clinical breast exam, your healthcare professional checks your breasts for warning signs of breast cancer.

Between appointments, we encourage self-awareness about breasts. Breast self-awareness is different from breast self-examination. Breast self-awareness is knowing what your breasts normally look like. Your breasts change as you go through different stages of your life, so it’s important to learn what’s normal for you.

When breast cancer is detected early, it is easier to treat. That’s why Essentia Health recommends that women at average risk of developing breast cancer have a mammogram every year starting at age 40. You and your doctor may decide that you need mammograms less often after age 75.

Access a wide range of breast imaging services through Essentia Health. Your provider may use breast imaging to detect or diagnose breast disease. Depending on your symptoms and breast density, your provider may recommend:

• Digital mammography.
• 3D mammography.
• Breast ultrasound.
• Breast MRI.
• Image-guided breast biopsy.
• Ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration.

Anthony Matt is the Media Relations Specialist at Essentia Health.

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