Dr. Ed Wehling and his family are enjoying life in a rural setting while he performs surgeries and treats patients in the same community. When he arrived in Mt. Ayr a couple of years ago, his goal was to provide the people of Ringgold County the option to stay in town instead of traveling to Des Moines for many surgical procedures. He’s pleased with the response. “We seem to have educated patients on what we can do,” he said. “They’ve been very receptive. It’s been great to be able to bring a few new services to the community and keep people from traveling long distances.”
He performs a wide variety of vascular surgeries, including minimally invasive procedures, rather than making surgical incisions. He’s also performed several thoracic procedures in the lungs that have had very good outcomes. One of the most common conditions he treats includes gastric reflux disease and hiatal hernias. “We’re taking care of three to five a month here now,” he said. “The procedure corrects the effects of stomach acid going up into the throat which causes discomfort and can be pre-cancerous.”
With the goal of taking care of people close to home, his team has been able to do many dermatological procedures too. “Now we can treat skin cancers and do biopsies right here. In the past, a patient would have had to go to Des Moines for anything beyond a simple freezing.” Of course, not all surgeries can be planned and scheduled in advance. Traumas and emergencies always take precedence. According to Dr. Wehling, they’ve expanded their trauma capabilities and can keep someone in town who otherwise would have been transported to another facility. “We keep them in a situation where they feel safe.
It’s really important.”
Dr. Wehling hasn’t been surprised by his team’s success, but he commented that it has been a change for the people who have “grown up” in this facility. “Previously, patients that had some of these issues
wouldn’t even be referred here, because we couldn’t have helped them. Unless you can serve them, you don’t see them.” He applauds the surgical staff. “They’ve risen to the challenge and our patients benefit. They can take advantage of this efficiently run facility, which also has lower infection rates than a big-city surgical center. We’re very busy. We do six to nine surgeries a day of varying intensity. We’re able to do that because the staff is so efficient.” Dr. Wehling can’t say enough good things about the surgical team, although he thinks some have been astonished by what they’ve been able to accomplish.
“They have embraced our new capabilities as a challenge, and they have risen to the challenge.”
Join Dr. Wehling for a free educational seminar on Thursday, June 30, at 5:00 p.m. in the Hospital Cafeteria to learn more about the surgical and testing capabilities at Ringgold County Hospital. The program is free, and dinner will be provided, but please call 641-464-4401 by Monday, June 27 to reserve your place.