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Girls give gift to their favorite doctor

By Staff | Oct 10, 2010

If you are unable to find enough words to express your gratitude, then maybe you should buy and donate a lot of books to show your appreciation.

Patricia and Kyle Gustafson of Huntley did exactly that.

It was their way to say “thank you” for the medical care their two daughters received at the Blue Earth Medical Clinic.

In January, after battling a sinus infection and high fever for two weeks the Gustafsons 4-year-old daughter, Brynn, is taken to see Dr. Kevin Kimm.

His diagnosis, a rare illness known as Kawasaki Disease.

In his 18 years of practice, Kimm has seen only two cases. But, he’s never forgotten a slide shown to him and other medical students during a class.

“Once you see that it’s hard to forget. It’s the classic symptoms. The red eyes, strawberry-colored tongue, cherry-red lips and a very high temperature,” says Kimm.

Brynn is transported to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, where she is seen by a pediatric cardiologist.

Patricia says Mayo Clinic staff told her they see no more than three cases of Kawasaki Disease. In the U.S., only about 4,500 children contract the illnesss annually.

Kawasaki Disease causes inflammation in the walls of small- and medium-sized arteries throughout the body, including coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. Two weeks later, the Gustafsons 1-year-old daughter, Carly, sees Dr. Kimm.

He determines the infant has RSV pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

After being transported to a Mankato medical facility, Carly was airlifted to St. Mary’s.

“From the receptionist to Dr. Kimm, the nurses, medical staff and ambulance crew, everybody was so caring,” Patricia says.

Brynn spends seven days at St. Mary’s and Carly, eight.

The Gustafsons credit local medical staff for acting quickly and providing the proper needed services.

“It makes me tear up to think of the great care my daughters got. I just felt I had to give something back,” she says.

That’s when Patricia came up with the idea of donating children’s books for the new clinic.

After collecting $200 in donations, she received $100 in matching funds from US Borne Books. The book club also contributed $490 in free books after hosting a house party.

“I just thought this was the perfect way to say how grateful my husband and I are that our girls are healthy,” she says.

The books will be placed in the clinic’s patient care rooms and displayed in the lobby area.

Dr. Kimm is humbled by the Gustafsons’ gift because he thinks the clinic’s medical staff only did what’s expected.

“All my patients are very special to me. But, those two little girls touched my life,” he says.