COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Ruthie's Story

Heart & Vascular Care
“Three days after her cardiac arrest, Ruthie awoke. She couldn’t remember anything after collapsing on the floor, but a vivid dream lingered. In it, Jesus was near and saying she “still had things to do and should go back.” ”

Carrying forward after cardiac arrest

Death doesn’t frighten Ruthie Nodsle. She died once before.

On June 16, 2010, Ruthie was making lunch at her home day care near Carlos when a carrot became lodged in her throat. She ate bread and drank water, but the pain in her chest didn’t go away. She recalls her daughter asking if she needed help and walking towards the door, but she never made it.

A first responder arrived within minutes and began CPR. Ruthie was taken by helicopter to St. Cloud Hospital, where she was treated with therapeutic hypothermia. Her body was cooled to 92.3 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours to improve her chance of survival and to preserve brain function.

Ruthie, now 59, was fortunate to live in Central Minnesota, where Take Heart St. Cloud has been in place for 10 years at St. Cloud Hospital. Sudden cardiac arrest is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Due to this, the Take Heart program works to improve survival rates through a systems-based, community-wide approach for faster and better treatment. It involves bystander CPR, defibrillation and induced hypothermia often followed by an implanted defibrillator to protect against future cardiac arrest. St. Cloud Hospital was one of the first hospitals to use therapeutic hypothermia, helping to spark widespread use of this approach in hospitals across the state.

Three days after her cardiac arrest, Ruthie awoke. She couldn’t remember anything after collapsing on the floor, but a vivid dream lingered. In it, Jesus was near and saying she “still had things to do and should go back.” Later Ruthie realized why Jesus seemed so close. Just like in the Footprints Prayer, Jesus had been carrying her during this time of trial.

In the years since, Ruthie has pondered what it was that Jesus still wanted her to do. “After my cardiac arrest, I was altered emotionally and physically,” she said. “Through rehab I got healthier, but it took me awhile to figure out the right balance.”

Ruthie is now back to doing day care and has begun painting, a hobby she gave up after having children. She joined an art club and entered a painting into the Douglas County Fair. The scene, depicting lily pads on Lake Itasca, received grand champion recognition. “This scene means a lot to me because it’s where I vacation with my family,” said Ruthie. She says the cardiac arrest brought her family closer together, and she is determined to enjoy life, looking at every day as a blessing.