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Hudson Health Campus upgrades level of OB/GYN care

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River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The addition of an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at the Hudson Health Campus is the beginning of a trend, says Christopher Cook, director of marketing for Hudson Hospital.

"That is what the community has asked us to do in developing this facility - offer a higher level of specialty," Cook says. "This is one of the first things out of the chute. In the future, we hope to have that in cardiology and cancer care. ... This is the beginning of a large upswing of our qualifications."

The present excitement is over the arrival of Dr. Dennis Hartung, the first OB/GYN specialist to work exclusively on the Hudson Health Campus. He joins nurse practitioner Sharon Allen on the staff of the new Western Wisconsin OB/GYN Clinic, which maintains offices with the Hudson Physicians Clinic.

"We're trying to give excellent care close to home. And we're trying to provide something that hasn't been available to this community on a large scale," says Allen, who has been seeing patients at the Hudson clinic for two years. "They don't have to travel across the river to get specialty care in OB/GYN."

Dr. Hartung comes to Hudson from North Pole, Alaska, a small town outside of Fairbanks, where he was an Army physician serving families from the nearby Air Force base.

He was born in Billings, Mont., and grew up in Salem, Ore., where he graduated high school and then signed on as an Army musician to pay for college. He was a flute, clarinet and saxophone player (and sometime band major) for the Army for six years, serving first as the member of the Army band at Fort Campbell, Ky., and then with the Continental Army Band at Fort Monroe, Va.

From there, he went to Boston University, and then the Department of Defense's medical school at Bethesda, Md. After four years of OB/GYN residency training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Hartung and his family were stationed in North Pole, where they've been for the past 11 years.

He and his wife of 24 years, Linda, have three children, Rebekah, 19, John, 16, and Aaron, 12.

Allen, a former nurse practitioner for the military, was charged with starting the OB/GYN clinic at the Hudson Health Campus when she came to work here two years ago. Part of that duty was recruiting an OB/GYN physician.

Hartung said he got his first letter from Allen in January 2004 and put it in a drawer because his retirement from the Army wasn't imminent. He was pleased to learn the position was still open when he became serious about what to do after a 25-year military career.

He interviewed for the position last November, and Western Wisconsin OB/GYN Clinic, a collaboration of Hudson Hospital and Hudson Physicians Clinic, has been holding it open for him since then. He began his practice in Hudson Sept. 1.

Both Allen and Hartung see women for health maintenance exams and routine pregnancies. Hartung, a pelvic surgeon, takes over cases requiring surgeries.

He said he tries to be a good listener because he knows that's important to women.

"In many cases, a woman has options, so I like to have her input on what she thinks would be best for her," he said.

To learn more about Western Wisconsin OB/GYN Clinic or to schedule an appointment, call (715) 531-6780 or go online to www.hudsonhospital.org.

Randy Hanson can be reached at rhanson@rivertowns.net

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