M.D. heads into or­bit on NASA mis­sion

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Col­leagues of Dr. Kjell Lind­gren say his med­i­cal skills are out of this world. And they’re right—lit­er­ally.

Lind­gren, board cer­ti­fied in emer­gency and aerospace medicine, was one of three astro­nauts who flew into space last week. The NASA crew reached the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion af­ter blast­ing off from Kaza­khstan.

Lind­gren re­ceived his emer­gency medicine train­ing at Hen­nepin County Med­i­cal Cen­ter, a public hos­pi­tal in Min­neapo­lis. Those who worked with him at the hos­pi­tal said he was a star doc­tor long be­fore reach­ing the outer or­bit of Earth.

“When you in­ter­act with Kjell, he had this built-in pro­fes­sion­al­ism and fo­cus I’ve seen in very few in­di­vid­u­als,” said Dr. Wil­liam Hee­gaard, an emer­gency medicine doc­tor at HCMC.

Af­ter a three-year stint at HCMC, which in­cluded one year as its chief res­i­dent, Lind­gren stud­ied in­for­mat­ics and then moved on to the Univer­sity of Texas for his aerospace medicine res­i­dency. He’s been train­ing for space since 2009, when NASA se­lected him as one of its own.

The latest space­flight was de­layed in May be­cause of a sep­a­rate space­craft mal­func­tion. Lind­gren and his crew will be hov­er­ing over Earth for five months.

In the runup to the launch, HCMC col­leagues gave shoutouts to Lind­gren on Twit­ter and other so­cial media by pos­ing next to large card­board cutouts of him. Staff also cel­e­brated with a launch party, which in­cluded moon pies and “Star Wars”-re­lated videos. (Hee­gaard said that “Star Wars” is one of Lind­gren’s fa­vorite movies.) They plan on send­ing more videos and self­ies to Lind­gren while he’s up in or­bit.

“There is a lot of ex­cite­ment,” Hee­gaard said.

Dr. Kjell Lind­gren is sched­uled to spend five months in space.

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