Published on April 19, 2021

New Resident Finds Exceptional Care Close to Home

Photo of Kim Harber standing in from on the Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena.

Alpena resident Kim Harber is extremely pleased with the professional, personalized care she received in the Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena.

Kim Harber was celebrating a new year in a new town and enjoying her first northern Michigan winter by trying her hand at cross country skiing. While taking in the beautiful scenery around her, she fell and fractured her left wrist. Being a nurse, Harber knew it needed immediate attention. Even the slightest bump in the road while being driven to the Emergency Department (ED) in Alpena caused excruciating pain.

Harber, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (C.R.N.A.), suspected her break was significant. She and husband Dan, a cardiologist, had recently moved to Alpena from the Plymouth area where they both worked for the Beaumont Health System. As one who was accustomed to having access to many treatment options and specialists close to home, Harber wasn’t certain about the kind of care she should expect from the ED of a small, rural hospital.

“It's certainly a different experience being on the other side of the fence,” said Harber. “I was already working at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena at the time of my accident, but hadn’t had to utilize the ED. All I can say is they gave me the most compassionate, competent care I have ever experienced.”

Harber explained that she was in pretty rough shape upon arrival. “They greeted me calmly and took me to a private room right away,” she said. “I was shaking badly, so they carefully helped me out of my coat and assured me that I was going to be okay.”

Harber was impressed that all the ED staff she encountered took the time to introduce themselves by name and explain what was going to happen, from administering pain medication to transporting her to X-ray, to reducing her wrist. “Ashley the ED nurse, Armando the radiologist technician and Maggie a respiratory therapist who rubbed my head when my wrist was being reduced really went above and beyond without knowing I worked here. They even rolled my gurney with the utmost care,” she said. “Dr. (George) Elliot and the entire ED team were so professional and kind; that instills confidence when you’re hurting.”

“It’s our priority to give the best care we can every time,” said Emergency Department Nurse Manager Hilary Coffman, M.S.N., R.N. “We have a strong ED team who cares. I’m glad to know our patients are having excellent experiences as a result of the hard work we have put in to improve our processes and surroundings.”

Harber was eager to say that her subsequent experiences were equally excellent, as she required surgery the next day. “Mrs. Harber required open reduction and internal fixation on her left wrist because it was fractured in two places,” said Orthopedic Surgeon Kiel Beltinck, D.O. “It’s important to stabilize the bones a soon as possible, then follow-up with physical therapy to regain strength.”

From her interactions with Dr. Beltinck and the surgical staff to the occupational therapy team who helped her heal and get back to work, Harber described her care as exceptional. “As a C.R.N.A., I am sensitive to everything going on around me,” she added. “I want to tell you that the care I received here in Alpena is superior to any I have received elsewhere. We are so happy to have moved here to live and work.”

The Harbers’ new home is on the lake next door to Kim’s parents. They are both employed at the Medical Center and have already made strong personal and professional connections to the area. “There are some great surgeons and health care professionals here,” she said. “Although an accident isn’t a preferred way to learn more about a new community, I’m glad to know that my instincts to move here were correct. Alpena is full of gems.”

Those who would like more information about comprehensive musculoskeletal care available in Alpena may visit www.midmichigan.org/alpenamsk. Additional information about MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena is available at www.midmichigan.org/alpena.