Mercy offers more surgical options

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

With the addition of two doctors, Mercy Hospital Berryville is increasing the number and type of surgeries offered each week.

Mercy surgeons Robert Dorman and James Irwin have begun offering weekly services in Berryville. The doctors alternate weekly visits to the hospital on Wednesdays, with Dorman beginning Dec. 29 and Irwin on Jan. 13.

Dr. William Flake, who has been the general surgeon at Mercy Hospital Berryville since 1981, said he's excited about the new services offered. Flake has recently stopped doing more significant procedures, such as hernia operations and gallbladder removal.

"I'm approaching 70 years old, and surgeons need to recognize

limitations. We've been changing my role for the past few years, but more acutely as we've lost our other surgeons we needed to get some young active surgeons in," Flake said.

Both Dorman and Irwin, Flake explained, are the type of doctors Mercy Hospital Berryville needs.

"They're excellent, very well-trained surgeons," Flake said.

Bringing the surgeons in, Flake continued, is the model of the future. Flake said Irwin and Dorman will be doing outpatient surgeries and consulting with patients needing more serious surgeries. About 80 percent of surgeries today, Flake noted, are outpatient.

"If a patient in Berryville needs to travel to Rogers for a more serious procedure that requires an overnight stay, he or she can be evaluated and seen in Berryville by those surgeons," Flake said. "Then once they're home, they'll continue to be seen by that same surgeon."

So far, Irwin said he's enjoying working in Berryville once every two weeks. Irwin, who is originally from Fort Smith, described the excitement he feels traveling to a new hospital.

"It gives me a different landscape. I get to travel a bit and do something new," Irwin said. "As far as the community, I know they've been hurting to have some service so it benefits everybody."

Dorman, a Fayetteville native, agreed.

"I feel great. I think it's a great experience to come in and help out the community and give patients high-quality local options for surgical care," Dorman said. "They don't have to travel hours away to see a surgeon."

Irwin said he hopes the outreach program is successful enough that the doctors can expand it. Eventually, Irwin said he wants both he and Dorman to visit Berryville weekly.

"That way, two days would be covered where we could see patients and do surgeries. We're hoping it build up to a point where more of our partners might be coming up here other days," Irwin said.

As it is, Irwin said the outreach program is going well.

"We're just trying to help provide a service that wasn't there," Irwin said.

The easiest way to make the program a success, Dorman noted, is getting people to talk about it.

"The word has to get out. Our main goal is to have a consistent presence so people can rely on us," Dorman said.

To learn more about the Mercy Surgical Outreach, call Flake's office at 870-423-3338.

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