Our Patients Say it Best

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Don’t Stomach the Pain - Rosemary Stull


Feb, 2016

Physicians: Craig Kline, MD

Rosemary Stull, a 67-year-old resident of Decatur, Michigan, was diagnosed with a large hernia in 2010 and discomfort became a regular part of her life. During that time, Rosemary accidentally breathed in one of her vitamins, which brought on a vicious coughing spell. To further investigate the coughing, she went in for a chest x-ray. The results of the x-ray showed the hernia had become a more serious issue that could no longer be managed with medication alone.

That’s when Rosemary visited the Internet in hopes of finding a surgeon who would meet her health needs. She also sought out recommendations from her family. After some consideration, Rosemary scheduled an appointment with general surgeon Craig Kline, MD.

Upon first meeting Dr. Kline, Rosemary was immediately impressed. “He was so kind and had a great bedside manner,” said Rosemary. During her appointment, Dr. Kline discussed the results of her CT scan, which revealed that 75 percent of Rosemary’s stomach was situated above her diaphragm.

"Hiatal hernias are quite common, but in some cases, the hernia in the diaphragm can enlarge, and allow a significant portion of the stomach to protrude into the chest cavity,” said Dr. Kline. “These patients can experience shortness of breath, severe indigestion and heartburn, and pain.”

From there, a surgery date was set. Dr. Kline explained to Rosemary that her surgery would be performed using the da Vinci® Xi™ system – a robotic surgery system utilized by highly trained doctors that may enable shorter hospital stays, quicker recoveries, and faster return to normal daily activities for patients.

"The daVinci Xi system is truly a surgical revolution for repair of these types of hernias in the diaphragm – most patients are able to return home the very next day,” said Dr. Kline.

Approximately one month later, Rosemary returned to Southwestern Medical Clinic for her surgery. Since the initial CT scan with Dr. Kline, her stomach had risen completely above her diaphragm and was a constant source of discomfort in her life.

Leading up to the procedure, Rosemary said she felt confident about the use of a da Vinci robot to perform her surgery. Yet on the actual day, she admitted to feeling a bit nervous. However, any uneasiness was quickly overcome upon her interactions wit h both Dr. Kline and his staff.

“Everyone was absolutely wonderful,” she said. From there things only looked up. “Compared to the discomfort I was previously experiencing, the surgery was nothing.”

However, the real relief came at the end of the surgery. The very next day Rosemary was able to return home.

“My recovery was unbelievable – it was almost like there was no recovery at all,” said Rosemary. “Immediately after surgery I began feeling better. It was almost as if I were years younger.”

In the months leading up to the surgery, Rosemary had difficulty with everyday tasks, such as breathing and climbing the stairs. But soon after returning home she was able to breathe easily, which she recalls as “the most miraculous thing.” Any pain from the surgery was gone soon after, and she was left with little to no discomfort.

Since then, Rosemary continues to meet with Dr. Kline and his staff. She is no longer on any medications and says that she “feels wonderful.” Her friends and family can’t believe how fast she recovered.

Looking back, Rosemary said there was no reason for her to be nervous or fear having surgery. “If anyone is hesitant to have surgery, they should know they are in good hands with Lakeland Health.”


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