Skip to main content

Latest Northeast Wisconsin healthcare news & headlines – Nov. 7 Issue

share arrow printer bookmark flag

November 2, 2022

Parents are advised to watch for signs of the contagious RSV virus
WISCONSIN – Parents are being asked by health professionals to keep an eye on their children for signs of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and make sure to keep them home from school or daycare if they show symptoms.

“We’re definitely seeing lots of cases of RSV,” Abby Smolcich, M.D., ThedaCare Physicians-Darboy pediatrician, said. “There’s been quite a bit of rise in the State of Wisconsin we’ve seen and a little bit early for timing purposes as well.”

According to Tom Haupt, respiratory disease epidemiologist and influenza surveillance coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Wisconsin was averaging more than 800 cases a week in late October, noting the spread is happening much earlier than most years.?

Smolcich said RSV is typically more of a mild respiratory illness for older kids and young adult populations.

However, he said among infants and young children, it is the most common cause of bronchitis, croup, ear infections and pneumonia.

According to the DHS, older adults, infants and young children are most likely to get serious complications from RSV.
Smolcich said RSV is contracted from saliva droplets in coughing and through sneezing.

“It does live on hard surfaces for longer periods of time,” she said, noting it is important to sanitize surfaces, including places like door handles.

She said symptoms can be “widespread” – from coughing and congestion, runny nose and sneezing, fevers, breathing difficulties and wheezing and lack of appetite.?

Smolcich said it’s important to seek out medical care for small children before it leads to more serious complications.
“(However, death) is very rare, especially with all of the wonderful technologies we have available in our day and age for kids who get sick,” she said.

Smolcich said it can be difficult to know the difference between RSV, COVID-19 and the flu. “Honestly, it can be hard to tell without doing testing,” she said.

Andi Hume, Bellin Health infection prevention team leader, said they too are seeing an increase in RSV cases.

“We continue to see a significant uptick in respiratory illnesses, including RSV, in our pediatric population,” she said. “We encourage parents and caregivers to take steps to protect their little ones, including ensuring children are up-to-date on their influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Hume also recommends encouraging children to cover their cough, practice good hand hygiene and keep them at home and away from peers if they are ill.

Pradeep Prakash, M.D., a pediatric intensivist at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, said though St. Vincent’s and Prevea Health agree local numbers of RSV cases are “not alarming” as of the end of October, the recent surge gives them the opportunity to educate people about RSV.

“You should seek medical attention right away if your child is having difficulty breathing,” Prakash said. “If their breathing is noisy or you can see the chest sucking in, it means the child is having trouble getting air. Discoloration around the lips, paleness and refusal to drink are also signs to be watchful for.”

ThedaCare, Froedtert announce joint venture in Fond du Lac, Oshkosh
NORTHEAST WISCONSIN – ThedaCare and Milwaukee-based Froedtert Health have announced a joint venture to create two health campuses in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh.?

The “health campuses of the future,” as they are being referred to, will feature smaller-scale community hospitals.
Each hospital is expected to have emergency care, 24/7 coverage with board-certified emergency physicians and in-patient beds.

The Fond du Lac campus is expected to be 18,000 square feet, with an estimated $35 million investment. 

The Oshkosh campus is expected to be 58,000 square feet, with an estimated $76.3 million investment. 

ThedaCare officials said both campuses will complement community development efforts – with the Fond du Lac campus being constructed in a retail district, while the Oshkosh campus will be located on the Fox River in downtown Oshkosh.

Architect, design and construction partners will be announced at a later date.

Groundbreaking is expected in spring 2023, with project completion in 2024.

DHS announces distribution of fentanyl test strips through local organizations
WISCONSIN – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently announced that 120,600 fentanyl test strips have been distributed to tribal nation health clinics, county health and human services departments, county and municipal health departments and organizations that work with people who inject drugs.

In 2020, the DHS reported there were 812 overdose deaths in Wisconsin where illegally manufactured fentanyl was considered to be probable or suspected of contributing to the cause of death.

Gov. Tony Evers signed legislation in March to allow the test strips to be used in Wisconsin.

The first phase of the fentanyl test strip distribution program is funded by $1.25 million from Wisconsin’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Fentanyl test strips are dipped into drug residue dissolved in water.

Within minutes, a person can know whether the drug contains fentanyl.

For information on where test strips can be obtained, see

There is no limit on the number of fentanyl test strips someone can receive through this program.?

People struggling with substance use can contact the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline by calling 211 or go to

Da Vinci Xi Surgical System comes to HSHS St. Nicholas, Sheboygan
SHEBOYGAN – HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan has announced it is now home to the da Vinci Xi Surgical System – robotic surgery technology that offers a three-dimensional high-definition (3D-HD) vision system, special instruments and computer software that allows surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.?

After a surgical site is accessed through minimal incisions, the system translates the surgeon’s hand movement into smaller, more precise actions of the instruments.

Hospitals officials said it is currently being used by Jessica Leszczynski, a Prevea Health OB/GYN, for hysterectomy, repair of pelvic organ prolapse and endometriosis, and by Andrew Radtke, Prevea Health urologist, for treatment of prostate cancer, kidney cancer, adrenal gland tumors, enlarged prostate and reconstruction of scars in the urinary tract. 

DCMC recognized with 2022 ’Most Wired’ status
STURGEON BAY – The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) announced that Door County Medical Center (DCMC) in Sturgeon Bay has been recognized with the CHIME Digital Health Most Wired status for 2022. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our digital platform strategy to meet patients where it is most convenient for them and to keep them engaged throughout their health journey,” Erick Schrier, DCMC chief information officer, said. “To be recognized… is a great honor.”

Schrier said DCMC was the only Northeast Wisconsin hospital recognized by CHIME, which conducts an annual survey to assess how effectively healthcare organizations apply core and advanced technologies into their clinical and business programs.

For more information, see

Other healthcare news
For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) College of Nursing (CON) was named among the nation’s best schools for men in nursing by the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN).

The award recognizes nursing colleges’ efforts in recruiting and retaining men in nursing.

Four faculty members and four nursing students attended the 47th annual AAMN conference Oct. 20-22 in Orlando, where CON was recognized.

Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) medical assistant students visited the Boys & Girls Club of Fond du Lac for its “Dream Big” event, which introduces young people to more than 100 career choices available at MPTC.?

“They were super interested in what we were learning and had a blast with the hands-on portion of our day,” student Kalli Behling said. “I was once a Boys & Girls Club member, so coming back as one of the mentors was a heart-warming experience.”

The Agnesian Healthcare Foundation in Fond du Lac will host its “Caring for You Fund Christmas Luncheon” Saturday, Dec. 3, at Whispering Springs Golf Club.

Proceeds help patients with non-medical expenses while undergoing treatment.

The foundation reports requests from the fund in 2022 have already surpassed 2021 – noting, “Often, their diagnosis may affect their ability to work and make ends meet, causing unneeded stress as they begin to fall behind on their bills or cannot afford their next meal.”

Tickets and sponsorships are available at or by phone at (920) 926-5418.

Prevea Health has released a new episode of its podcast – Plug in to Health, titled “Breast Cancer: Don’t just be aware. Take action!” – which features Prevea breast surgeon Colette.

The podcast is free on all major platforms including Apple and Spotify and at

Prevea Health is now offering physical therapy services at the Prevea Kewaunee Health Center, 1020 Marquette Dr. in Kewaunee, with Kevin Tielens.

The Luxemburg High School graduate specializes in the rehabilitation of orthopedic injuries, post-operative rehabilitation, sports medicine, spine care, vestibular rehabilitation, rehabilitation of headaches, temporomandibular joint rehabilitation, chronic pain management and manual therapy, including joint mobilization and manipulation.

share arrow printer bookmark flag

Trending View All Trending