High-tech and full of heart, Gerber Memorial surgery program takes center stage at Rotary
FREMONT, Mich., April 26, 2022 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial surgeon, Erich Schafer, DO, shared insights and updates about the hospital’s surgery program at the Fremont Rotary meeting on Tuesday, April 26.
Dr. Schafer’s key points: Gerber Memorial’s comprehensive surgery program is high-tech and staffed by a passionate team of surgeons, advanced practice providers and their teams.
“A lot of times, because of the services we have, we can provide the entire range of care for patients right here,” Dr. Schafer said. “Our main goal is taking care of the community here. We have an exciting surgery program that I’m passionate about.”
Dr. Schafer was a champion of bringing high-tech surgery to Gerber Memorial. In 2019, Gerber Memorial unveiled its DaVinci robotic surgery technology.
“Before robotic surgery, we had laparoscopic surgery, which had limited movement,” Dr. Schafer said to the Rotary audience. “DaVinci allowed surgeons 360-degree full rotation and was less invasive.”
Dr. Schafer said patients who underwent colon surgeries took 7-10 days to recover in the days before robotic surgery. Now, he said, the average stay is about 24 hours. Traditional hernia surgeries used to mean months of recovery time. With robotic surgery, a patient could expect to recover in about a week.
“With DaVinci robotic surgery, people can get back to work quicker, they experience less pain, they can use Tylenol and Motrin, without narcotics, they feel better and they don’t need to go to Grand Rapids for a procedure they can have here in Fremont,” said Dr. Schafer, who has performed more than 400 surgeries with the DaVinci robot.
Some of the more common general surgeries at Gerber Memorial include gastrointestinal, soft tissue, anti-reflux and colon surgeries. Dr. Schafer said the general surgery team that also includes Jeremy Kuiper, MD, and Kegan Rummel, DO, is experienced in performing a wide range of surgeries, including trauma and emergency cases as well as procedures that can detect diseases early and allow the surgeons to manage patients’ care.
Gerber Memorial’s orthopedic surgery team includes what Dr. Schafer describes as “a true orthopedist” in Brian Hood, DO, who performs a diverse range of orthopedic surgeries, and Brett Martin, DO, who specializes in sports medicine. The orthopedic team includes physician assistant Caylee Bont and athletic trainer Sarah Carpenter.
Dr. Schafer also highlighted surgery services provided by the OB/GYN team of Drs. Melissa Bayne, Katherine McCormick, Jehanna Erho and Lindsay Schmiedeknecht, along with certified nurse midwife Emily Thrower and physician assistant Shana Strantz.
To contact Gerber Memorial’s general surgery, call 231.924.4200. Find a Spectrum Health surgeon at https://findadoctor.spectrumhealth.org/