January 16, 2020

Carol Wolfenbarger: Mission Hospital McDowell’s Surgery Services are Advanced, Expansive, and Right Here in Your Community

By Carol Wolfenbarger
Chief Executive Officer, Mission Hospital McDowell

Carol Wolfenbarger

Our beautiful, technologically advanced Mission Hospital McDowell (MHM) saw its grand opening in 2018, experienced more growth this past year, and as we usher in 2020, we are positioned to continue to grow and serve our community – especially with our extensive and sophisticated array of surgical services.

Mission Hospital McDowell hosts some of the best surgeons in the region with many doctors having offices right here in Marion. We also partner with physicians from Mission Hospital and other offices who come to MHM to perform surgery. Our state-of-the-art inpatient and outpatient surgery suites, dedicated C-Section room and endoscopy room were tailored with both the patient and the surgeon in mind so that surgical care of the patient is optimized.

Lori Webb, RN, BSN, CNOR, serves as MHM’s Manager of Surgery, Outpatient Infusion, and Labor & Delivery. She does a great job of summarizing the surgical services we offer and explains the ways in which our ORs are now truly advanced. “Our new ORs are laid out efficiently and set up with patient safety as the top priority,” she says. “When any type of surgery is performed, a centralized control desk allows a nurse to vary the lighting in the OR and adjust video monitor settings for the surgical team so they can plan and coordinate their work,” Webb says. She adds that the sterile supply area and the sterile processing department – where all the surgical instruments are sterilized – are designed so that the work flow of all surgical team members is optimized.

MHM’s surgical services include general surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, gynecology, urological, podiatric, and orthopedic surgery, as well as some cardiac and ear, nose, and throat procedures. “Our board-certified general surgeons can do a wide range of standard and advanced laparoscopic surgeries, where they make very small incisions with specialized equipment in order to perform the surgery, rather than one large incision, typical of traditional surgery. This translates into less pain and easier recovery for patients, as well as a reduced chance for post-surgical complications,” explains Webb. So many procedures are now done laparoscopically, including hernia repairs, appendectomies, and gallbladder and bowel tumor removals. MHM also has the capability to do laparoscopic skin grafts, organ biopsies, port insertion, and dialysis catheter placement.

MHM’s gastrointestinal (GI) surgery encompasses lower and upper GI procedures. During a colonoscopy, for example, the surgeon checks the colon for polyps and if any are found, removes them; an endoscopy allows a surgeon to investigate upper GI disorders like esophageal problems and gastro-intestinal reflux disease (GERD) while using a flexible tube equipped with a light and camera. Gastroenterology procedures are performed by Mission Surgery McDowell as well as Asheville Gastroenterology Associates.

Our urology surgeons can treat many problems, including “blasting” kidney stones by administering shock waves via a laser to break them up and then removing them. Men can also come to MHM for vasectomy procedures and prostate biopsies, while men and women can undergo surgery for incontinence.

MHM offers a full range of orthopedic surgery too, from knee repair to carpal tunnel hand surgery. Our orthopedic surgeon is one of the few in the region who does hip arthroscopy, where the physician can view and diagnose numerous problems of the hip.

As for OB/GYN surgery, MHM offers many procedures. Our all-female, four-member Board Certified Gynecology team performs both traditional and laparoscopic hysterectomies, prolapsed uterus repair, and an investigative procedure of the uterus known as hysteroscopy, among other procedures.

Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) procedures are also done at MHM, by two surgeons who come from Mission Hospital twice per month. They perform operations like tonsillectomies and the insertion of ear tubes that prevent ear infections in both children and adults.

Webb points out that any hospital that offers surgical services must also have an excellent anesthesiology team, and MHM certainly does. “Led by our anesthesiologist, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are trained in standard anesthesia techniques and can also perform regional local anesthesia “blocks,” states Webb.

Webb attributes the caliber of MHM’s surgical services to the extraordinary teamwork between everyone who treats surgical patients. “Our nurses, certified surgical technicians, anesthesiologists, and surgeons are second to none,” she says. “Their focus is on patient safety always, they treat every patient as if they were a family member, and they take ownership of their role in the patient’s experience.”

Mission Hospital McDowell has the qualified team of clinical experts to care for your surgical needs. This great array of surgical services offered at Mission Hospital McDowell reflects our mission to serve you.

Mission Hospital McDowell

Carol Wolfenbarger, MSN, RN, FACHE, is Chief Executive Officer of Mission Hospital McDowell. She holds both Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in nursing administration from the University of Tennessee, is board certified in Healthcare Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Carol, who has served hospitals and health systems for more than three decades, has worked to add full-time cardiology services, led growth in outpatient services including imaging and surgery, and the expansion of primary care offering in Burke County since assuming her role as President at McDowell Hospital in 2015. She is an active member in Rotary and serves as a Board member for the Rutherford/Polk/McDowell Health District Board of Directors, the Corpening YMCA Board of Directors, and the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.