You never know what you’re going to deal with when you go to work in one of the Flathead Valley’s hospitals.
That was the message of Flathead Med, an event hosted by North Valley Hospital and Kalispell Regional Healthcare on Aug. 22 at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center. The event, which officials hope will become an annual tradition, featured stories from four different physicians and was hosted North Valley Hospital chief medical officer Jason Cohen and marketing and community relations manager Allison Linville.
“We want to share a behind-the-scenes look with the public of what happens at the hospital every day,” Linville said at the start of the presentation.
Speakers included North Valley’s emergency department medical director Ashleigh Magill, surgeons John Means and Tim Joyce, and Federico Seifarth, a pediatric surgeon at the recently opened Montana Children’s Medical Center.
Means specializes in minimally invasive surgeries by using robots. He talked about one case with an 84-year-old woman from Sidney whose stomach had somehow ended up in her chest and her spleen was three times larger than normal. In years past, the woman would have been sent to Seattle or Salt Lake City for surgery, Means said, but because of the robotics technology available at North Valley and KRH, she was able to stay in Montana. Means completed the surgery by making just six small incisions.
“Our goal is to keep Montanans in Montana,” Means said.
Magill ran the audience through a normal day in which her team might see patients suffering everything from a broken limb to a heart attack.
“The ER can go from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds,” she said. “But big or small, no matter the time of day, our team is ready to take care of you.”
Joyce is a surgeon with Northwest Orthopedics & Sports Medicine who does six to eight joint or knee replacements every week. He said the Flathead is an active community, which keeps him busy.
Seifarth touted the services at Montana Children’s Medical Center in Kalispell. He said there were only a handful of pediatric specialists at KRH a few years ago, but now there are more than 40.