Surgery director discusses community at Fayette County Memorial Hospital

By Ashley Bunton -

How does the feeling of community relate to what is happening in a surgical operating room?

For Jason Vaughan, the director of surgery at Fayette County Memorial Hospital, the answer is that health care is a focus on community, not business, with patient care the number one priority.

Today Vaughan is a working manager, handling a lot of the managerial work for the operating room. At the same time he is certified to work as the first assistant to surgery, allowing him to work side-by-side with physicians in the operating rooms.

“There are some statistics out there that show it’s actually safe for patients to have common general surgeries in local hospitals. We do more of the general surgeries than the hospitals that specialize in more complicated cardio and neuro surgeries,” said Vaughan.

A general surgery that Vaughan said one type of surgery he often assists with at FCMH is laparoscopic cholecystectomy, or gallbladder surgery.

“It’s very common to have your gallbladder removed,” said Vaughan. The gallbladder is essentially a storage unit for bile, said Vaughan, releasing the bile to break down food during digestion.

Symptoms of gallbladder disease include abdominal cramping and discomfort after eating fatty foods. A person with gallbladder disease does not always have to have their gallbladder removed, said Vaughan, but they should have an assessment.

“Diet is the main thing affecting that,” said Vaughan. “Sometimes it’s your family history, but a lot of times our diets in America are high in fat. Fatty diets can lead to gallbladder disease.”

When surgery is performed at FCMH to remove a person’s gallbladder, the surgery lasts about 45 minutes. With time for prepping, it can take an hour-and-a-half.

“One thing that we do here routinely that they don’t always offer at other locations, is single-site incision,” said Vaughan. “Usually in most hospitals it’s four or five incisions.”

He said that most people want to have a single-site incision because there will be less scar tissue on their abdomen than if they had to have four or five incisions. He said the incisions are small, but still, people don’t want that many small incision scars if they can get away with just having one.

“We go as minor as removal of skin cancer, to major laproscopic colon resection. That’s bowel surgery. Laproscopic colon resection would be where we laproscoptically remove a portion of your colon due to cancer or medical necessity,” said Vaughan.

Other surgeries performed at FCMH include cataract surgeries, as well as orthopaedic and urological surgeries including corrective prostate surgery.

Vaughan grew up in Chillicothe. He studied at Hocking College and Columbus State, becoming a registered nurse. It was at Columbus State where he received training to become a nurse first assistant, which allows him to work in the surgery operating room today.

He started his professional work originally at FCMH, but then went on to work at Clinton Memorial Hospital for more than a decade before moving back.

“The real reason I came back is because health care has changed today, it has become more as a business health instead of a health care in a lot of areas. When I came to FCMH, it’s more about health care and putting the patient first in a community feel and that’s something that I had missed,” said Vaughan.

When asked if he had any advice for folks who might be nervous about having a surgical procedure, Vaughan smiled and said yes.

“My advice is to ask questions. It’s mostly fear of the unknown. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We’re more than happy to answer all of your questions, and if we don’t know the answer, we will find the answer,” said Vaughan.

By Ashley Bunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton