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This is the story of my recent surgery with Dr. Andrew K. Patel.
On Monday evening, April 3, a friend came to visit me. When I complained that I was not feeling well, that I had a fever of 101.4 Fahrenheit, he urged me to go to the Emergency Facility at Good Samaritan Hospital. He stayed there with me while they ran tests, including a CAT-scan, all of which were judged to be “normal”. I was discharged around 4 a.m., with instructions to visit my primary care physician as soon as possible.
Later that morning I called the Portland Clinic and was given an appointment with my doctor for that afternoon. During the appointment he asked if I wanted my thyroid removed, although he implied it wasn’t necessary. He told me to see him again in a month.
That evening, Tuesday, April 4, my temperature rose to 102 Fahrenheit. It had also become difficult for me to swallow. A neighbor volunteered to drive me back to Good Samaritan for a re-evaluation. There the test results of the previous night were pulled up, but this time I was kept in the hospital.
The next morning, Dr. Andrew Patel came into my room to draw liquid from my thyroid for a biopsy. He then projected a series of x-rays on the screen to show me how a thyroid mass had formed and grown to the size of a fist over the past decade. He explained that the mass had grown into my chest cavity, dislocated my windpipe, and paralyzed my right vocal chord. That explained why I couldn’t swallow. He believed that the thyroid mass had to be removed, unless I wanted to have a feeding tube installed, either through my nose or my abdominal wall. The thyroid mass would then continue to grow. I immediately chose the surgery.
Dr. Patel made two appointments for me in his office at St. Vincent Hospital, for Monday, April 17, and Monday April 24. During these hour-long sessions, Dr. Patel again displayed the x-rays and explained the nature of the surgery. He wanted me to be fully informed before making a final decision. Then he explained that he would perform the surgery with a thoracic cardiac surgeon, Dr. Engstad, who would be there to cut into the sternum in order to make it possible for Dr. Patel to remove the fist-sized mass lodged inside the ribcage. He explained that, depending on what was found during the procedure, they might have to install a trachea tube. He estimated that the procedure might take three to five hours, maybe longer. He repeated that the recovery might require me to stay in a nursing rehab center for a month or longer.
Dr. Patel also agreed to discuss the surgery with another friend of mine, who was also an M.D. This friend called him and then called me back to express his confidence in Dr. Patel’s diagnosis and urged me to have the procedure done. So I accepted the surgery, which was then scheduled for Wednesday, May 3, at 8 a.m. I made an appointment with the pre-admission nurse and also met with the anesthesiologist and Dr. Engstad, who expressed his optimism about the outcome of the procedure. On May 2, I stayed overnight with a friend who drove me to Legacy Emmanuel at 5:30 a.m. the next morning.
The preparation for the surgery was extensive and employed a large staff. Drs. Patel, Engstad, and Axel, the anesthesiologist, popped in to see me and joined the chorus of well-wishers. I was impressed with the warmth and kindness of the doctors and staff. When I was moved into the operating room, Dr. Patel announced to a large staff that had been assembled, “Good morning everybody, this is Günter.” I remember the assembled staff became a chorus of well-wishers. Then I was asleep.
When I woke up, I had a short glimpse of a smiling Dr. Patel, who said something reassuring. When I asked, I was told that I was in the Observation Room, not in the ICU, and that later in the day I would be moved into a regular hospital room. To my relief, my throat was intact, there was no trachea-tube. But, though I felt no pain and did not need pain medication, I did not know at the time how well the surgery had succeeded. In fact, the surgery had lasted less than two hours. My sternum had not been broken. Dr. Patel had managed the near impossible feat of pulling the mass out through the 2-inch incision he had made at the start of the surgery. So while the operating room had been reserved for nine hours, only two hours had been needed to complete the surgery. This surprised even Dr. Patel, who was elated.
The next day, Dr. Patel called me with the good news that the thyroid mass was benign. There was then no need for me to go to a rehab center. I was discharged to go home within two days, on Friday, May 5, armed with prescriptions and the advice to contact a speech therapist.
Now, just two weeks afterwards, I feel quite “normal” and independent again. But I’m not likely to take my normal life for granted. I am conscious that I am a very lucky octogenarian (close to becoming a nonagenarian) to have had Dr. Patel as my surgeon. I will be forever grateful to him. And I thank the staff for their warmth and kindness. It was a wonderful, life-enhancing experience.
In sum, my gratitude and admiration for this doctor are boundless.
I have rarely written a review of any kind but I think Dr. Jennifer Sowards merits an exception. You get what you pay for. I wanted professional advice, not someone selling a product. I am confidant I got knowledgeable and caring advice and judgment regarding my hearing loss and treatment. I recommend her without any reservations.
I met with Dr. Lewis for the first time to talk about my allergies and their tendency to turn into awful head colds. If you're like me, you're used to sitting in the waiting room, preparing what you're going to say and how quickly you can say it before you lose the doctor's attention. Dr. Lewis is so kind and the complete opposite of what you are used to. He checked all of my symptoms and even noticed an issue I had overlooked. He answered my questions and explained the treatment plan in depth. What a refreshing experience! I'd recommend him to anyone and encourage you to find doctors that leave you feeling supported and taken care of like Dr. Lewis surely will.
Checking in to the office I overheard a conversation regarding a patient that was disputing paying their bill. Its funny how people these days rely on there insurance and the government to pay there bills for them and if anything is left to them they freak out about having to pay for services. People don't realize how little money Doctors actually get paid from insurance companies. Take away insurance and no one would be able to afford to see a Doctor. Just wanted to let you know I have always been very pleased with services I receive from this location and will continue to come here and pay my bill when I get one...no one is entitled to a free ride in life. Thanks for all you do
My son had an emergency situation (he had a BB lodged in his ear) and we were unable to get it removed at the ER. The docs there told us to see an ENT. Dr. Hertler's office not only got us in the same day, but stayed open a smidge late to allow us to travel from Hillsboro to Portland. Dr. Hertler was amazing with my little boy; he has an excellent bedside manner, and was very patient with him. He took the time to explain what he was doing and made him (and me!) feel comfortable. We were thankful we had a positive result, as it could have been much worse. Thanks so much to your office for being so accomodating and helpful!
I first saw Dr. Jennifer Sowards when my old hearing aids quit working. She worked diligently to find a solution for me. Now, I can hear so much better! She has been wearing hearing aids since she was 6 years old, I trust her completely!
At first I was very nervous about starting care with a new audiologist since my former audiologist had recently retired, but my experience with Nancy Henson was wonderful. She was very professional and listened to all my concerns regarding my hearing. It was like I had been working with her for may years.
the Audiologists at both the Portland location and the St.Vincent's were so intune with my needs. they listened and sought the best solution for my hearing loss. They worked with my budget and walked me through all my concerns regarding being a first time hearing aid user. Definitely appreciate this office.