Sanford-Fairview merger would make family’s care full circle

Three Schmitke kids were born at Fairview. Then Mom and Dad got lifesaving care at Sanford.

Sanford-Fairview merger would make family’s care full circle

All three of Greg and Renate Schmitke’s children were born at Fairview Health Services in Edina, Minnesota.

The family would eventually move from Lakeville to the Fargo-Moorhead area in 1997. The couple often travels back to the Twin Cities to visit their daughter Ruth Gredvig, who now works at Fairview’s headquarters.

“We had Fairview as our main hospital care while we were living here in the Twin Cities. Even though we’ve moved to Fargo-Moorhead, we still have a connection to Fairview with our daughter working as an administrative assistant,” Greg said.

Married 40 years and both in their early 60s, Greg and Renate have been in the hospital more than they’d like recently.

“I’ve had knees replaced at Sanford. Very good job. Wonderful doctors there,” Renate said. “When I had COVID-19 two years ago, I had PE, which is pulmonary embolism, and I was taken care of at the emergency room at the new hospital in Fargo. Then I was transferred to the Broadway hospital (Sanford Broadway Medical Center) and that was on their COVID floor.

“They were wonderful. The nurses that came in, the doctors, I didn’t realize I was as bad off as I was.”

Greg is having his own fair share of health scares.

“I had a heart attack in February of ’21 and then a second one in April of ’22. The care that I received was excellent,” Greg said. “I wasn’t fearful but obviously concerned about what was going on. Having the doctors with the knowledge that they do, very helpful.”

The Schmitkes want Sanford and Fairview “strengthening care together” to mean more access to specialists and a greater level of comfort while traveling.

“Being in-network here in the Twin Cities so there’s no question with insurance if there’s an issue while we’re down here. Especially getting older, you never know,” Greg said.

‘Incredible connection’ between communities already

Having family and friends all over Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, Greg says the regions are already connected in a number of ways.

“There’s almost that triangle there. I think there’s an incredible connection. Almost everybody in Fargo-Moorhead either knows or has relatives here in the Twin Cities or knows people or has relatives in Sioux Falls. I’m sure it’s true in Sioux Falls as well as in the Twin Cities,” Greg said.

When Sanford merged with Fargo-based MeritCare in 2009, Greg remembers having a few questions as a patient.

“Am I going to be able to keep my doctor? Can I keep going to the same clinic?” Greg said.

Not only did the answers turn out to be yes, Greg and Renate benefitted from Sanford’s investments in the community.

“Sanford came in. They built a brand-new hospital on the west side of Fargo,” Greg said.

That hospital is where Greg and Renate received lifesaving care.

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Posted In Community, Company News, Emergency Medicine, Fargo, Here for all. Here for good.