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"There is something wrong" are words no expectant parent ever wants to hear. And for Ryan and Kathy Nielsen, they came just 20 weeks into Kathy's first pregnancy. The couple was eagerly awaiting the arrival of their child and had been busy getting their home ready. Then, doctors diagnosed their unborn son, Aaron, with congenital diaphragmatic hernia during Kathy's 20-week ultrasound. After the shock wore off, the couple began a search for answers that ultimately led them to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. "We debated on a number of facilities after Aaron's diagnosis, but we ended up coming to Mayo, because they offered an ECMO (heart and lung machine) as part of his treatment if he were to need it," Kathy says. "The other medical facilities did not."
Bill McWhite was vacationing along the Texas Gulf Coast — normally, a time to relax — when his body refused to let him unwind. Instead, the 69-year-old Hayward, Wisconsin, man experienced a flare up of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, and found himself in the local hospital. “I had congestion in my chest and was having problems breathing,” Bill says. “They gave me a couple medications, and, within two hours, everything was fine.” That incident was motivation for Bill — a pack-a-day smoker for 55 years — to quit smoking and to seek care with a lung specialist back home. The decision would ultimately lead his doctors to find that he had lung cancer, through a new screening program that identified the cancer at an early, treatable stage.
David Edming, of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, didn’t want to slow down when he retired. The U.S. Navy veteran, age 56, took up aviation and purchased a powered parachute ultralight aircraft — a three-wheeled machine with a propeller that ascends when wind fills an attached parachute. “The thing with a powered parachute is you only fly in perfect weather,” David says. He found that perfect weather on July 2, 2013 -- a beautiful day with no wind -- and he took off from his hay field to pass by a local golf course, just as he had done many times. After his flyby, he tried to increase altitude while making a turn, which was standard procedure. But this time, something went wrong. Although the wing should have caught the wind, it instead curled under, sending him into a nosedive.