www.johnsonpublications.zenfolio.com Brooke Robertson | Johnson Publications

Standing by the operating room door are Dr. Shane Banks, general surgeon; Ann Aufdengarten, surgical LPN; Diane Zwickl, OR director; and Brad Wiesner,  nurse anesthetist. Not pictured: Pam Murphy, nurse anesthetist.

PCHS surgical program sees steady growth

General Surgeon Dr. Shane Banks, who began the surgical program at PCHS on Aug. 1, 2017, said it has been a team effort to get everything in place. 

The program has seen a steady increase, with same-day surgeries doubling over the last 12 months. Last year’s hospital remodel provided two new operating rooms and a specialty clinic with seven exam rooms. 

Dr. Banks said an advantage to adding a full-time general surgeon is that he is able to assist other specialty providers with their care. Thus, more specialty providers are able to perform procedures at PCHS, creating less travel for patients. 

“I think that’s the key. We’ve been able to provide a service where patients can stay here to be treated and do not have to travel somewhere else like they did before,” said Diane Zwickl, OR director. 

And the program is growing. Brad Wiesner has joined Pam Murphy as a second full-time anesthetist. Overall, the program has gone from two full-time staff to six full-time and two part-time staff. 

“The most important thing to me is the quality and the safety of our procedures,” said Dr. Banks. 

November and December were their busiest months, as people tend to have time off and deductibles are paid.

“I would say as a friendly suggestion if you have something you want to get done, don’t wait until the last minute,” said Dr. Banks. 

He noted they had some patients at the end of last year they simply could not fit in. 

To round-off the speciality clinic providers, orthopedics will be added in September with the addition of Dr. Eric Verploeg. 

“Dr. Verploeg was the U.S. ski team surgeon out of SteamBoat Springs, Colorado; so we are adding a top notch orthopedic service,” said Dr. Banks.

He added he is very excited about the program, which will give them the ability to offer sports medicine, ACL repair, fractures, knee and hip replacements and many other procedures they weren’t able to offer before. 

PCHS CEO Neil Hilton said in looking at the bigger picture, the revenues that come into the district-owned facility are put back into the facility.

“If you support our facility, you’re supporting your neighbors, because the better our facility is, the better it is for everybody,” he said. 

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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