Surgery in her town helps mom see new baby as she heals

And access to Sanford Health medical centers means advanced care is also nearby.

By: Carson Walker .

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WATERTOWN, S.D. — Brittany Chapin had just been released from the hospital after the caesarean section birth of her second child when she had to be re-admitted for exploratory surgery and, ultimately, more recuperating from an ulcer.

She already had a toddler, Henry, at home and was eager to join her husband, Kasey, in bonding with little Hudson. But on the day Chapin got home from the hospital, she awoke in the night with chest pains and shortness of breath. After an ambulance ride and four days of tests that showed worsening results, her Sanford Health OG/GYN, Jim Jones, M.D., referred her to general surgeon Kelly Ming, M.D.

Dr. Ming did exploratory surgery and discovered and fixed the hole in the stomach and a related infection.

“Being close to home was crucial for us,” Chapin said. “I was in the hospital for six to seven days, so my mom was able to bring baby Hudson up to see me every day. I don’t think I could have made it through the surgery or through the whole event without being able to see him every day because that was tough when you’ve got a 7-day-old baby, and all of a sudden you’re not able to feed them the way you want to because you’re in the hospital.”

Advanced care

Sanford Health’s surgical services in Watertown include colonoscopy, breast surgeries, vasectomy, skin cancer removal, laparoscopic surgeries, hernia repair, gallbladder, hemorrhoid surgery, removal of cysts and endoscopy.

Dr. Ming said that wide offering of help available locally gives her a close relationship with her patients, who often refer family members for routine procedures.

“They do know me and feel like they can contact me any time with questions. It ends up being a more personal interaction,” she said. “And, that being said, there are times that it’s not appropriate to keep patients here.”

For those more complicated cases, she calls upon other members of the broader Sanford Health team who have access to advanced technology and specialists in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, or Fargo, North Dakota. Watertown, a city of 22,000, is about halfway between both cities. That access to world-class care is especially crucial in life-threatening situations.

Chapin is glad Sanford Health has that elevated care if it’s needed but was relieved Dr. Ming had the know-how in town.

“She told me what she was going to do and I’d ask a question. And she’d give me the answer and I’d bawl for a little bit. Then I’d ask the next question and she’d answer it and then cry a little bit more. I can be a little overwhelming with my questions but she took time to answer them,” she said of Dr. Ming.

“God really blessed our family in having a great doctor and having taken care of my baby, so we could make sure he was safe and taking care of me after he was born.”

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