Published on July 17, 2018

Support every step of the way

The bariatric program at Mercy Fitzgerald helps ensure weight-loss success

Women preparing foodBariatric surgery can be a life-changer. It can help you lose a lot of weight if you’re obese, and it can drastically improve your health.

But the surgery isn’t easy, and you need a lot of physical and emotional support—before and after the procedure—to achieve success.

And that’s exactly what you’ll get if you decide to have bariatric surgery at Mercy Fitzgerald. You won’t be making this journey alone—you’ll have an entire bariatric team by your side. Think of them as your personal partners to better health.

“We give patients complete, compassionate care,” says Linda Keller-Doyle, Bariatric Program Coordinator at Mercy Fitzgerald. “We make it very personal.”

Some bariatric programs might hand patients a list of tests they need to schedule before their surgery. Linda and her staff make the appointments for you. Not only that, they’ll call to remind you when the tests are scheduled.

The surgeons are part of the compassionate care package too. By the time your surgery is complete and you’re ready to go home, you’ll have the personal cellphone numbers for your surgeon, for Linda and for a dietitian. And you’re encouraged to call or text anytime you need help.

“It’s above anything by far that I’ve seen in healthcare,” Linda says. “And I think it speaks volumes about our program.”

Healthy outcomes are a priority

Dr. RamachandraWeight loss is not the first topic discussed with new bariatric surgery patients.

“We talk about disease resolution,” says Prashanth R. Ramachandra, MD, FACS, Mercy Bariatric Surgeon. “That is our big focus. I tell them, ‘Your diabetes is going to go away, your heart failure is going to go away, your knees and hips will feel remarkably better, and your sleep apnea will go away’.”

But all those health benefits don’t happen unless the patient commits to a new way of life. They must exercise, they have to change their diet and eating patterns, and they often need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of their lives.

It can be overwhelming, Linda acknowledges. But that’s why the Bariatric Program at Mercy Fitzgerald includes a support group. And it’s why Dr. Ramachandra continues to communicate with his patients for years. (He’s still in touch with his very first bariatric patient.)

A sight to see

The weight loss most people experience after bariatric surgery is striking, Linda says.

“The physical transformations are so dramatic that I sometimes don’t even recognize the patients anymore,” she says.

For many people, the surgery totally transforms their lives.

For example, Dr. Ramachandra tells of a woman who weighed over 550 pounds before he operated on her.

“She was so heavy, she was turned down at other hospitals for surgery,” he says. “She was confined to a wheelchair when she came to us. Now, she is losing weight, looks healthy, and is out of the wheelchair and walking with a cane.

“She told me, ‘The next time I see you, I won’t have the cane’.”