Lohstreter leaving a position he loves

Dr. Thomas Lohstreter will officially be leaving Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center, Hallock, Minn., May 1, 2018. Lohstreter has been with the local facility since

By Linda Andersen
     “I’ve been blessed with a job that I really love,” says Kittson County’s only full-time physician, Dr. Thomas Lohstreter, who has resigned from his position at Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center, effective May 1, 2018.
Dr. Lohstreter, who grew up in Wayzata, received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Minnesota and completed his family practice residency with the Navy in Pensacola, Fla. He remained with the Navy for two years and then worked in emergency medicine at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.
     While in Fla., three adopted children joined the Lohstreters and the family moved back to Minnesota so that the children could be closer to grandparents. A son now lives in New York and works in the film industry. A daughter works as a nurse in Minneapolis. A third child is deceased.
In the Twin Cities, Lohstreter worked first as a family doctor and then as an emergency room doctor at Fairview Southdale in Edina.
     Lohstreter says he “retired for a bit” in 2002, then wished to return to the profession and took some necessary courses to once again become certified.
He was asked to come to Hallock as a locum (someone who serves temporarily in a profession). After two short stays in Hallock, he says he “fell in love with the place. It’s hard to find a fit…This is exactly what I’d wanted to do since medical school.” His list of things that he liked about Hallock includes “people, patients, schedule, and staff.”
     “I want to stay,” he says he told the people here. Since then, his duties have included “things a normal country doctor would do.” He serves in the clinic, hospital, nursing home, emergency room, and as medical director of the ambulance service and hospice. He works for ten days and then has four days off. He’s on call at night during those ten days and admits that calls in the night aren’t something he will miss when he leaves.
     What he will miss, he says, are “my patients – they’re like family.” He talks about how, in a small town, the doctor can see and chat with patients while at the grocery store, church, or taking a walk.
     Lohstreter says they “grow them old” in this part of the country, adding that a lot of his patients are in their eighties and nineties and still “very functional.”
What will Kittson Memorial do when Dr. Lohstreter leaves? “They’ll staff with locums until they can find somebody,” he replies.
     Lohstreter will be following his wife, Jan, to Sarasota, Fla. Lohstreter calls Sarasota an “art capital,” a place with a “ton of art stuff.” He says Jan, who in recent years retired from her position as an art teacher in the Bemidji School District, has taken a real liking to Sarasota and already gotten involved in the city.
     Dr. Lohstreter will work full-time (seven days on, seven days off) in a hospital in Sarasota. He calls it the “perfect job to slow down,” adding, “I don’t know if I’ll ever really quit.”

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