Many Surgeries Performed Right Here in Shawano

Posted 29 July 2014 1:14 PM by TCAuthor3

By Carol Ryczek, Shawano Medical Center Community Relations Manager

Did you ever watch a water strider skimming over the calm surface of a lake?  These strange little bugs have a long body and long feet. They don’t swim, they skim over the water. That’s how it feels to sea kayak. When my husband and I are in our boats, we skim along the surface of the water, our long paddle “feet” pushing us along like water bugs.

I don’t know if bugs live long enough for their joints to wear out, but kayakers do. At least, my husband’s shoulder did. When his shoulder stopped moving the way it was supposed to, we were dead in the water. But then a remarkable thing happened. He had his shoulder replaced. What made it remarkable was not only that a chunk of gnarly bone was taken out and a new, pain-free upgrade installed – but also that it was done here in Shawano.

My spouse was not the only person to have joints replaced in Shawano. ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus physicians can do knee replacements, hip replacements, and a host of other bone and joint-related procedures. We have specialists who take out cataracts and insert new lenses; do dental restorations; take out kidney stones; and make hernia repairs.  All of these surgeries are now being done at Shawano Medical Center and will be done at the new ThedaCare Medical Center Shawano, once construction is completed.

But what determines which surgeries will be done in Shawano? Like so many things in healthcare, the answer is, “that depends.”   It’s really about patient safety; that is, receiving the right care at the right location, Jodi Zimmerman, SMC surgery manager, explained.  

“A lot depends on the level of care a patient needs after the surgery,” Jodi said. “Something like heart surgery, where patients recover in an intensive care unit (ICU), will be done in Appleton. Some surgeries require the doctor to check on a patient on a daily basis after surgery. If a specialist is only here one or two days a week, they wouldn’t be able to provide the follow-up care that a patient needs.”

The type of care after surgery and, the specialized equipment play a role in determining what surgeries are offered here. But whether a patient has surgery in Shawano or in a larger hospital may also depend on the patient, Jodi said.

Some patients have bigger risks of complications after surgery, she noted. They may have medical conditions that make it safer for them to have surgery in a larger hospital, where specialized equipment can play a key role in a good recovery.  

“What is the safest place for the patient?” Jodi said, “That is the bottom line.”

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