Woman, 112, reflects on medical advancesAt age 112, Anna Stoehr has seen many changes in her life. World War I and World War II, the Great Depression Era and the invention of electricity – just to name a few. But observing the changes in health care delivery has also been significant.
By: Kristy Jacobson, The Republican Eagle
At age 112, Anna Stoehr has seen many changes in her life. World War I and World War II, the Great Depression Era and the invention of electricity – just to name a few. But observing the changes in health care delivery has also been significant.
“All five of my children were delivered at home on the farm, not in a hospital. The doctors only made house calls back then,” said Stoehr, who is believed to be the oldest living woman in Minnesota. “I remember one doctor who was on the road day and night seeing patients during the flu pandemic of 1918. Then he slept for three days straight. When he woke up, he ate and took off to see more patients.”
The flu pandemic of 1918 claimed the lives of an estimated 50 million people worldwide, according to www.flu.gov. Anna Stoehr was not one of them.
Born to German immigrants in Iowa on Oct. 15, 1900, Stoehr now lives independently on a farm near the small hub of Potsdam, Minn. With family close by, she receives her health care only 10 miles away at Mayo Clinic Health System — Lake City in Plainview.
Her physician, Robert Taylor, said her longevity is likely a mix of good genetics, clean living and remaining active.
“Living in the country inherently requires people to do more for themselves, whether it is mowing the yard, gardening or walking to the mailbox,” Taylor said. “(Anna) has not gotten to this age because of me; the physicians that have taken care of her in the past are the ones who can take some credit.”
Stoehr said she has no secret to living to this age.
“It’s all in the good Lord’s doing,” she said.
In her younger years Stoehr milked cows, raised chickens and tended to her garden. She has only known the country lifestyle. She still makes her own meals and bakes her own bread. And she says she wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“I enjoy life here,” Stoehr said.
National Rural Health Day was commemorated on Nov. 15. In a proclamation signed by the governor, it is explained as a day where “Minnesota’s rural healthcare providers are recognized for meeting those challenges and offering patients comprehensive, compassionate, holistic and patient-centered care.”
While house calls by are no longer in practice, primary providers in small town clinics like Mayo Clinic Health System — Lake City in Plainview have seen technology advancements directly benefit their rural patients.
“If ever we need expert advice, it’s always available,” said Ruth Tiffault, a family medicine provider at both Plainview and Wabasha clinics.
Electronic medical records and telemedicine are two such advancements Tiffault has seen in her practice.
“Collaborating with Mayo Clinic helps us by having specialists’ knowledge right at our fingertips,” she said.
For rural patients like Stoehr, having health care access as close to her rural home as possible is a good thing.
“I’m very happy in this place,” Stoehr said.
Kristy Jacobson works as the public affairs specialist for Mayo Clinic Health System locations in Red Wing, Lake City and Cannon Falls.