Midelfort family descendant from Norway visits Mayo Clinic Health System

Courtesy Mayo Clinic Health System
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (RELEASE) -- Kristoffer Hellum, M.D., a neurologist from Drammen, Norway, paid a visit to Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire on June 8. Dr. Hellum is the great-grandson of Hans Christian Midelfart, M.D., founder in 1927 of what became known as Midelfort Clinic in downtown Eau Claire. In 1992, Luther Hospital and Midelfort Clinic joined Mayo Health System. In 2011, Luther Midelfort changed its name to Mayo Clinic Health System.

Neurologist Donn Dexter, M.D., who’s traveled to Norway five times, hosted Dr. Hellum. “I really enjoyed our time together discussing the differences between neurologic practice in Norway and the U.S., as well as our favorite sports and travels,” says Dr. Dexter. Dr. Hellum was able to enjoy an Eau Claire Express baseball game and a hockey scrimmage during his tour of the area.

Dr. Hellum grew up hearing stories about his Midelfort family’s contribution to health care in Wisconsin. “It’s amazing to think my family had this influence,” says Dr. Hellum. He also credits his grandfather, surgeon August Hellum, for inspiring his interest in the medical field from a young age.

As a neurologist, Dr. Hellum has a deep interest in epilepsy and was excited to see differences in treatments to assist patients with epilepsy in the U.S. compared with Norway. Because of overcrowding issues, the hospital Dr. Hellum practices at will soon undergo an expansion. His visit also served as a fact-finding mission for possible improvements to incorporate into the addition. He said he was surprised how electroencephalogram, or EEG, readings are used with U.S. patients in intensive care, as they are not widely used in Norwegian hospitals.

Dr. Hellum also was interested to learn more about vagus nerve stimulation, a technique used to treat epilepsy by implanting a pacemaker-like device to generate pulses of electricity to stimulate one of the 12 cranial nerves that conduct impulses between the brain and various body structures, mostly in the head and neck. The procedure can reduce the frequency of seizures that don’t respond well to medicine and may make them less severe.

Dr. Hellum plans to visit family members during his time in the United States and also is looking forward to visiting Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

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