From an interview with
Dr. Joseph Dougherty
McLeod General Surgery Dillon
General surgery is a term and a specialty that covers many procedures. McLeod General Surgeon Dr. Joseph Dougherty highlights some of the most common general surgeries.
Here is a summary of Dr. Dougherty’s comments:
The most common things we’re seeing are issues with digestive health — a lot of problems with the appendix, gallbladder, ulcers and gastritis, sometimes related to poor diet, sometimes related to stress. We do see some degree of pathology that is related to the stresses that come with socioeconomic pressures. In this area of South Carolina, we have a fair number of patients, who definitely are not getting sufficient preventive care. We see them in the emergency room with fairly advanced illnesses, which can make their care a lot more complicated.
We see a lot of cases related to obesity, ranging from complications of diabetes, such as wounds on people’s feet or on their backside. We’ve had quite a few cases of soft tissue infections that are attributable to uncontrolled diabetes. And those, in particular, can be very dangerous. The cases, where people get the “flesh, eating bacteria,” can be life-threatening and that can worsen rapidly. Those patients typically present to the emergency room, deathly ill, blood sugars totally out of control and their surgical care becomes an emergency. And we see that with some degree of frequency because diabetes and obesity are rampant in this region.
Surgery is a full contact team sport, and the surgeon is only one part of the team. The team is everybody from the emergency room (the first people to make contact with the patient when they come in), or it could be the internal medicine doctors, the hospitalists, and other folks who are making contact with the patient out in the hospital or in the clinic. All these people help determine what the patient’s problem is and guide them to the care of the surgeon. Within the operating room team, you’ve got everybody from the folks that administer anesthesia, to the surgical techs and our nurses. Everybody down the whole chain is critical to the team aspect and the positive outcomes for the patient.
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