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During his Decatur Chamber of Commerce address on Monday, Tom Nordwick, president and chief executive officer of the Adams Health Network (AHN), spoke about the medical practitioners here.
He said the replacement surgeon for Dr. H.S. Lee, who retired this year earlier than expected due to health reasons, will start next July 17, 2012. He currently is finishing his medical studies at Michigan State University.
Nordwick added that, unlike Dr. Lee, the new doctor will only perform surgeries and will not do any general medical practice.
"You won't get another doctor like Dr. Lee," said Nordwick, praising Lee for his decades of medical service here as a general practitioner and surgeon.
Nordwick also mentioned that two female doctors who specialize in family medicine began practicing at Adams Memorial Hospital in January and July and that a third female physician has been offered a job here, but she will not make a decision until she has a baby later this month.
In addition, another doctor may be added to allow greater hours of service in AMH's Statcare program, said Nordwick.
Regarding births in Adams County, Nordwick said there were approximately 600 in 2010, but only 187 at the hospital, with a larger number born in Amish birthing centers with midwives.
The local health care leader said AMH has four doctors on staff who handle births and there are two more doctors from outside the county who do likewise. Nevertheless, he said, AHN officials have discussed with officials of Bluffton Regional Medical Center the idea of sharing an obstetrician/gynecologist.
In response to questions from the audience, Nordwick said doctors undergo peer reviews each month, with all "negative outcomes" of medical treatments examined closely and all deaths in the hospital examined quite closely.
Nurses are evaluated annually, but also face "ongoing" evaluations during the year.
He further said patient satisfaction surveys conducted by the hospital involve only 30 percent of AMH patients and he promised to increase that percentage to get a larger sampling of viewpoints and responses.
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(Editor's Note: The following was received by the Daily Democrat by Dr. H.S. Lee, who recently suffered a medical issue and has since retired from his long practice in Decatur.)
The last four weeks don't seem real to me as I have always been the healer, not the patient. It was truly a humbling experience as I always thought I knew what to do, but I now realize there is a greater Healer.
All my adult life I was involved with medicine, which I enjoyed immensely. I found nothing that was more worthwhile and brought more joy than to bring my patients into healthy and productive lives. Caring for my patients always came first. And thanks to my wife, who never complained, I am glad I have been able to do what I loved most.
I came to Decatur as a young surgeon right after training. My wife and I both came from big cities, I from Nashville, and my wife from New York City, and many people thought we would leave Decatur for another big city. Well, that was 38 years ago, and we have been absolutely happy and content to have been able to raise our family in such a peaceful and beautiful place. My mother-in-law had visited a few times from her home in Los Angeles and she loved to say Decatur was the closest place to Heaven and we know that it is true.
My heartfelt gratitude goes to everyone at the hospital, especially the nurses at the OR with whom I had the best time. You and I were a team, and with all of you there, it wasn't work at all; it was the most satisfying and fulfilling experience every time we operated together. All the technicians and administrative personnel I relied upon every day, you are special. And my steadfast office staff, Sandy, Winnie, Janet, and Brenda, I cannot thank you enough. I couldn't have done any of the work without you. Because of you, work never felt like work, and I enjoyed every single day. Thank you.
I am overwhelmed that you trusted me enough to come to me in your time of need. Whether it was just a simple cold or a life-threatening condition, you turned to me for my healing decisions and my surgical skills. And for you, all good people, I do not hesitate to say I did my best in each and every case. It was truly a privilege serving you.
I cannot express enough appreciation for all of your prayers, flowers, cards and phone calls, and the encouraging words said to my wife when she met you in person in town. I am home now recuperating and becoming stronger every day. Thank you all. You are my friends, and I will treasure you always.
H.S. Lee, M.D.