High-touch and High-tech: State of the Art Technology and Compassionate Care Go Hand in Hand

Think you need to travel to a large city to get the best in medical technology? Think again. Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is committed to providing the latest in high-tech diagnostic imaging equipment to serve patients. And services are provided by local, experienced staff who care for generations of families.

DCMC’s new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine is the latest in cutting-edge technology, helping doctors diagnose and care for patients with needs including oncology, injuries and vascular issues.

Picture of MRI Scanner

“This state-of-the-art machine not only provides extremely detailed images, but it also allows patients to experience MRI in a more comfortable, spacious setting,” says Amanda Feldbruegge, director of diagnostic imaging at DCMC.

“Our new MRI scanner is larger and more easily tolerated by claustrophobic patients,” says Donald Renfrew, radiologist at DCMC. “In addition, the new machine has improved the quality of the images.  These improvements allow more confident diagnosis leading to better patient care.”

Patients agree that the combination of high-tech and personalized care make their experience stand out. “The new machine is less noisy than I had experienced in the past.  It was very comfortable and I didn’t feel so confined.  The technicians are always very nice, and that makes all the difference,” says patient Caroline Link.

In addition to the new MRI machine, DCMC recently added a new CT scanner, becoming the third hospital in the United States to adopt new technology that reduces streaks from implanted metal such as rods and pacemakers.

“The combination of leading edge technology and compassionate care helps us provide the best possible outcomes for our patients,” says Feldbruegge.


Jeff Heck: Leading and Serving

For Jeff Heck, a Door County Medical Center Auxiliary member, volunteering in the DCMC Outpatient Surgical Unit (OPSU) is like coming full circle. “I started my career as a paramedic, then worked in management consulting with pharmaceutical companies, so I’ve always been interested in medicine.” Now, Jeff is one of more than twenty volunteers who help surgical patients at DCMC to feel cared for.

Jeff’s volunteer duties are many, including stocking refrigerators with snacks and drinks, maintaining supplies and helping patients travel from the waiting room to the operating room to post-op. But above all, Jeff’s job is to welcome patients and provide a friendly face that stays with them and their family throughout their day.

Heck“When we ride up in the elevator, you can tell which patients are anxious,” he says. “I always reassure them, letting them know they will be in great hands with the phenomenal staff and surgeons.” Then, throughout a patient’s time in OPSU, Jeff makes sure they have everything from a warm blanket, to a snack and cup of coffee while in recovery. “I tell them I’m part of their team, and I’m here for them. If they need anything or have any questions, I’ll get them what they need.”

The work is easy for Jeff, because he believes in the care patients are receiving. “The staff is just amazing: nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists. They’re all so personable and their outcomes are outstanding.”  Like all volunteers, Jeff is encouraged to offer feedback to DCMC staff. “Gwen Haight, manager of surgical services at DCMC, works closely with us and values our contributions and suggestions. Since my area of expertise was process engineering, I have ideas, and the staff is very open to them.”

Jeff and his wife, Gloria, moved full-time to Door County three years ago, after spending time seasonally in the country for a decade. “After getting settled, we began to look for a place where we could contribute.” They both found the Auxiliary to be a perfect fit. In addition to his weekly volunteer time in the OPSU, Jeff is vice president of the Auxiliary, while Gloria volunteers at the Dental Clinic and DCMC gift shop and serves as chair of this year’s House and Garden Walk.

While Jeff encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to consider membership in the Auxiliary, he is especially eager to welcome more men. “Of our membership of 200, there are about a dozen men. We want men to know they have a key role to play in our Auxiliary and there are many ways they can be involved, including those that don’t require direct patient contact. We welcome anyone who wants to serve.”


Daylight Savings Time and Your Health

Ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted Daylight Savings Time in 1942, Americans have been setting their clocks – spring forward, fall back – to account for seasonal changes in light.

Blue alarm clock

But Daylight Savings Time (DST) doesn’t come without some health effects. Studies show there is an increase in both heart attacks and road accidents in the days after DST in the spring, with a 6 percent increase in vehicle crashes immediate after resetting clocks in March. Workplace injuries also increase by 5.7 percent on Monday following the time change. The time change can also disrupt sleep cycles, leading to restless nights and sleepiness and irritability during the day.


There are ways to cope with potential side effects of Daylight Savings Time. Try these tips from the experts at the DCMC Sleep Facility to minimize effects on your safety, mood and health. And above all, remember: come fall, we’ll get that hour back!

  • Eat a healthy breakfast the day of DST, including protein.
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants after lunch.
  • Try not to nap in the day or two following DST.
  • Wake a bit earlier on the Friday and Saturday preceding the DST switch.
  • Get some sun: exposing yourself to natural light helps your body reset.
  • Help your child adjust by making bedtime a bit earlier the week before DST.

Spring Training Tips for Runners

Dr. Rory Johnson, primary care physician at Door County Medical Center’s Fish Creek Clinic, is an avid runner and enjoys taking part in the Door County Half Marathon. He also advises his patients on safe and effective training. Dr. Johnson can often be found on the sidelines at high school sporting events, supporting DCMC athletic trainers and physical therapists in keeping student athletes safe and in good health.


Here are a few spring training tips from Dr. Johnson:

  • Take it slow. After the more sedentary winter season, increase your running distance gradually. “During the week, I stick with three to four mile runs, then on the weekends, gradually add an extra mile until I reach 10-12 miles,” he says.
  • Rest and recover. One or two days a week, take a break from running. Instead, go for a short walk to keep the blood flowing, do yoga or try a light weight-lifting routine.
  • Fluids, fluids, fluids. After running more than 30 minutes, have a recovery drink to replace electrolytes and a protein-packed snack to aid in muscle recovery. Prior to running, it’s important to stay hydrated – even in the days and week leading up to a big event.
  • Stretch. The most important time to stretch is after a run or workout. This prevents sore muscles the following day. “If you can get a massage after a big event, even better.”
  • Protect joints. Get fitted at a sports equipment store to find a shoe that works best for you, and invest in a high-quality shoe. “When running on the road, be mindful of shoulders that can be ‘crowned’ or uneven. Find the spot on the road that is most flat to avoid wear and tear on joints.”

Community’s Garden is Open to All

The Community’s Garden, located on the campus of Door County Medical Center, is open to all in our community. In 2016, more than thirty families and community organizations grew fresh produce in these garden plots.

Families who rent a 20’ x 20’ garden plot have the potential to save nearly $1,000 a year on food costs. And spring is a perfect time to begin planning for summer gardening by perusing catalogs and buying and starting seeds.  “Not only does a garden plot produce fresh produce in season, but end-of summer canning, freezing and dehydrating make fresh, home-grown foods available throughout the year,” says Registered Dietitian Carmen Schroeder of Door County Medical Center.

The Community’s Garden also offers “Food for Health” classes to introduce community members to gardening and cooking with fresh produce. For more information on the Community’s Garden, visit www.thecommunitysgarden.org, or call Jenny Spude at 920.746.3877

Try this recipe now, and reserve your garden plot to ensure plenty of tomatoes for next year!

Spaghetti with marinara sauce and basil leaves on top, decorated with cherry tomatoes. on blue background.



  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes*
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 1/3 Tbsp. dried parsley)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup white wine


  1. In a food processor place the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil for two minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over your favorite pasta.

*For each can, substitute 1 ¼ cup fresh tomatoes, ¼ cup chopped bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped onion and 1 cup tomato juice, water or broth.


Ask the Expert: Preventing Colon Cancer

with Dr. Shaun Melarvie, surgeon at Door County Medical Center Surgical Services

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. It is also one of the most avoidable and preventable. Colonoscopy, a procedure which allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine, is the current “gold standard” for the detection and prevention of colon cancer.

Q: When do I need a colonoscopy?

Dr. Melarvie: For most people, a first annual colonoscopy is recommended at age 50. However, if you have a family history of colon cancer, talk to your doctor, as you should have a colonoscopy at a younger age.

Q: Should I be nervous about the procedure?

Dr. Melarvie: No, colonoscopy is a common procedure and the technology has advanced greatly in recent years. With more efficient “preps,” most patients are surprised at how easy the procedure is. Colonoscopy is a well-tolerated procedure that causes less bloating and discomfort than ever.

Unlike most hospitals, DCMC has full-time anesthesiologists who participate in the procedure and focus completely on the patient. The results are worth it: removing non-cancerous polyps is part of the procedure, which can prevent colon cancer.

Q: What if I don’t want a colonoscopy?

Dr. Melarvie: There are a variety of non-invasive tests that can be effective, including stool testing and virtual colonoscopy. Your surgeon will work with you to determine the best test for your medical history and personal preferences.

Q: Do I need to travel to get this test?

Dr. Melarvie: The surgeons at Door County Medical Center have been performing this procedure for more than 30 years, with excellent results. In fact, our polyp detection rate is greater than the national standard. And having the test close to home increases comfort and efficiency for the patient.


Dr. Terry Reisner: Joining the Community

For Dr. Terry Reisner, joining Door County Medical Center’s Algoma Clinic as a family physician is a perfect fit with his background and values. “I love working in small communities where people work hard and put family at the center of their lives,” he says. Reisner comes from a family of millworkers and farmers in East Iowa, and after several years practicing medicine in the western states, he is looking forward to returning to the Midwest.

Reisner enjoys family practice as it gives him the opportunity to serve people across the whole life span. “I have been especially interested in geriatrics. I worked as a nursing assistant in care centers prior to medical school, and I enjoy talking to seniors and getting to know them,” he says. He also likes caring for children. “They keep things lively.” And as a U.S. Airforce veteran himself, Reisner also has a great deal of respect for veterans and their health care needs.

DrReisner_wCoatWith a strong interest in prevention, Reisner enjoys helping people achieve lifestyle changes and use exercise as a health tool. He and his wife, Barb, stay active by hiking, snowshoeing, cross-county skiing and bicycling.

The Reisners look forward to making their home in Algoma. “We’ve always been involved in a church, and we play music and sing hymns both there and in nursing homes.” Barb plays the piano, and Dr. Reisner contributes on guitar and drums. “It’s important to us to be part of the community and get to know people as neighbors, not just patients,” he says.

Dr. Reisner begins seeing patients at the Door County Medical Center Algoma Clinic on February 7, 2017. To make an appointment, call 920.487.3496.


Treating Stroke Fast with Telestroke

During a stroke, an estimated two million brain cells die per minute. The faster a stroke patient is evaluated and treated, the better his or her outcome and recovery will be.

Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) Emergency Department can now treat stroke faster and more effectively thanks to Telestroke, a new state-of-the-art technology that connects stroke patients with highly skilled neurologists with the click of a button.


When a patient with stroke symptoms arrives at DCMC’s emergency department, they receive immediate, hands-on care and assessment from the expert doctors and nurses on staff. Then, using Telestroke, a two-way audio/visual technology, a board-certified neurologist is contacted and immediately begins assessing the patient. Following the examination, the neurologist works with the emergency department physician to develop a treatment plan for the patient.

“We are grateful that our new partnership with HSHS brought us the opportunity to offer this technology to our community, potentially saving more lives and improving outcomes for stroke patients,” says Sandy Vandertie, director of emergency services at DCMC.

Stroke is a medical emergency. Identify symptoms with FAST:

  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred?
  • TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Art for Health helps Local Seniors Stay Mentally Active and Healthy

Picking up a paintbrush is just the beginning for seniors who find their minds challenged and hearts opened at Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) Art for Health workshops. For seven years, DCMC has providing free art workshops for local seniors at care facilities, places of worship and community centers. The interactive workshops provide hands-on participatory experiences in music, storytelling, visual arts and more. Since the program’s inception, the program has served more than 700 people.

Art for Health participant with her collage

Art for Health participant with her collage

“We believe that the health of body, mind and spirit are interconnected,” says Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer at DCMC. “Studies have shown the benefits of mental and creative stimulation in preventing dementia and depression and enhancing mental fitness and the sense of social connection.  We feel it’s important for our hospital to provide these experiences to the community.”

Art for Health coordinator Terry Lundahl recruits local artists and performers to provide the workshops, which serve a wide range of seniors. “This therapeutic program has proven beneficial to seniors who are very active as well as those who may be more fragile. In creating a community of participants in our workshops, we find people learn from one another and enjoy the experience of trying something new.”

Shirley Senarighi, coordinator of adult forums at Hope Church, agrees. “Art for health is a wonderful program that engaged our community in creating their own artistic ‘masterpieces’ and sharing them with the group. What a great contribution to our senior community.”

Upcoming Art for Health for Seniors workshops will take place on February 8 and 22, and March 8 and 22. For more information, contact Terry Lundahl at 920.493.5979.


Luke Spude: Homegrown Talent

Luke Spude, Door County native and Southern Door alumnus, is happy to be putting his new degree to work at Door County Medical Center. The 2016 Marian University graduate was administrative intern at the hospital last summer, an experience he says taught him many sides of the health care business. “I was able to work on special projects in the finance, marketing and accounting departments,” he says. Through the internship, he had a chance to see the many areas of the community DCMC supports, from outdoor sporting events to school initiatives.

FullSizeRender 14

Growing up in Southern Door, Luke experienced DCMC community support through his active role in the arts. A talented singer, he appeared on stage at the Southern Door Auditorium in several events supported by the hospital, including Door County Idol. He also received a scholarship from DCMC designed to support local high school graduates entering the health care field. “It’s amazing to see all the places Door County Medical Center gives back to the community,” he says.

Now Spude has landed a full-time job working in the accounts payable department. He sees fellow Southern Door graduates throughout the day, who hold jobs in everything from nursing to facilities management. “This place really is a center of the community, providing great care for patients and jobs for the community,” he says.