Extraordinary healthcare close to home

The summer of 2019. That’s when Donna Hunt, of Union Grove, knew the time had come. “I had been having a lot of problems,” Donna recalled, “and I needed a hysterectomy.” But as a wife and mother of two, with four dogs and a full-time job, Donna feared she was about to experience a major disruption to her busy life. “I expected to be out of work for a long time,” Donna said. “People I knew who’d had hysterectomies told me it could be six weeks before I could resume my normal activities. These people said I’d feel like I’d been hit by a bus, and would be unable to walk. They had lots of horror stories.”
But those were people who’d never met Dr. Kelli Sasada, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist with the Froedtert South Medical Group. “I called her office on a Monday morning,” Donna said. “They called me back that same afternoon with three available appointments the next day that I could choose from. I was just amazed.”

Kelli Sasada, M.D.

“I do a lot of minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgeries,” Dr. Sasada said. “It’s my primary specialty in surgery.” And it’s what Dr. Sasada recommended to Donna: a hysterectomy performed in one of two state-of-the-art surgical suites integrated with the da Vinci Xi Robot at the Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Outpatient Surgery Center.
“All of us here are very passionate about keeping up to date with leading edge technologies and the very latest standards of care,” Dr. Sasada said, “beyond what you might expect to see in another community hospital. We’re doing what university hospitals do here.”

Donna Hunt and family

That was certainly Donna’s experience. “Honestly, recovery was a piece of cake,” Donna said. “I went back to work part-time after a week. I was able to drive. I only needed pain medication the first two days after surgery,” she said, “and there were no opioids prescribed. It was as close to pain-free as you can get.”
“What minimally invasive surgery allows women to do is get back to their lives faster,” Dr. Sasada said. “Women are often taking care of their entire family. The faster they can get back on their feet, the better for everyone.”

Sheree Vollmer and husband

“It was very convenient to have the surgery in Kenosha,” Donna said, “because it’s closer to home.” And Donna said she trusted Dr. Sasada 100 percent. “I tell people I love her. She’s down to earth. She knows her stuff. And she and her whole team made me and my husband feel so comfortable.”
"Just before the surgery I was anxious,” Donna recalled. “One of the operating room nurses held my hand while he looked me in the eye and reassured me that I was doing great and that everything would be okay. His smiling face was the last thing I saw until I woke up after surgery. That meant the world to me. They really care.”
Sheree Vollmer, of Rib Lake, knows a lot about recovering from surgery. Sheree recently retired after 42 years as a nurse in the recovery room at Froedtert Kenosha Hospital. “In the past,” Sheree said, “patients had to have a large incision, so they could be pretty uncomfortable and might have a pretty long recovery.”
But helping patients recover was Sheree’s only frame of reference, because she’d never had surgery herself. Never, that is, until Sheree suffered an appendicitis attack while spending time with her husband in northern Wisconsin.
“We drove back to Kenosha and I had my appendix removed, which went well,” Sheree remembered. But then she learned, “the MRI of my appendix also revealed a tumor on one of my kidneys. It was unnerving for sure, because I never would have found the kidney tumor until it was a bigger deal.”

Ronald Kim, M.D.

That’s when Sheree met Dr. Ronald Kim, a urologist on the Froedtert South Medical Staff. “Dr. Kim removed part of my kidney,” Sheree said. “It was minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery. The tumor was cancerous, but Dr. Kim got all of it.”
“Our goal is to do everything as minimally invasive as possible,” Dr. Kim said, “whether that’s for cancer, or something else. For example, I treat a lot of men for benign prostate conditions. I’m doing two or three minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgeries a week, at a minimum. The number of these surgeries that I’ve done surpasses what five surgeons combined have done at another area hospital.”
Sheree knows firsthand that Dr. Kim’s experience counts. “I did awesome. I never took any pain medicine other than Tylenol. It was just a great experience. I think very highly of Dr. Kim. He’s very professional, and very good at what he does.”

Outpatient Surgery Center, Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Hospital

"Patients are amazed at how quickly they recover,” Dr. Kim said. “They’re back to their regular activities and back to work sooner than they expected. We’re talking weeks earlier, not just days.”
“They don’t stay in the hospital as long,” Dr. Kim said, “because they don’t have any complications keeping them in the hospital. Patients leave the hospital the day after surgery. There’s also less pain, because we’re making only tiny incisions. As a result, very few patients – almost none – need a blood transfusion. That is a very big deal.”
“It was definitely a plus for me to have the surgery in Kenosha,” Sheree said. “It’s less hassle, even with follow-up visits with the doctor – not having to travel somewhere to do that. It’s also much easier for family to visit.”
“Patients don’t have to go somewhere else for surgeries that we perform regularly right here, close to home,” Dr. Kim said. “And patients won’t get better care somewhere else.” Sheree agreed. “The level of care was excellent,” she said, “as good as you can get anywhere.”

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