Amish Hemophilia Clinic
In the late 1990s, Gundersen pediatric hematologist Bob Ettinger, MD, and several individuals at Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center in Cashton, Wis., started a partnership to help the Amish affected by hemophilia B. Dr. Ettinger began working to ensure access to treatment, access to factor (the much-needed medicine which helps blood clot) and access to information.
For many years, due to the expense of treatment and the difficulty of finding treatment close to home, even severe bleeds within the Amish population were simply treated at home with traditional remedies. Unfortunately, this led to lost time from farming and school and complications like infections, long-term damage from bleeding into joints and even life-threatening complications.
Every year, Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center and Gundersen’s Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders has held a comprehensive clinic where Amish can receive a full physical, dental exam and eye exam. Newly born male infants, at risk for hemophilia, are tested for the disorder. If diagnosed, they are enrolled in the state’s chronic disease program to ensure they receive medications.
During this clinic, Scenic Bluffs provides the physical space, much of the man-power and the scheduling. Gundersen Lutheran’s adult and pediatric hematologists staff the clinic. Together, the partnership has produced outstanding results to help this bleeding disorders community.