Wesley Medical Center is opening a new Pediatric Surgery Clinic on the fifth floor of the medical arts tower at 3243 E. Murdock, according to a news release.
The pediatric surgeons working in the clinic are Daniel Saad, Thomas Weber, Loren Mason Cobb, Juda Jona, Mark Seth Arkovitz, Edward Schlasko and Florence (Fawn) Lewis, according to the release.
The surgeons are temporary employees who fill positions around the country, depending on needs in a particular community. But the service opening at Wesley will be permanent, said Cyndi Chapman, manager of pediatric ambulatory services.
The new clinic comes as pediatric surgeon Kimberly Molik leaves Wichita for Mercy Hospital in St. Louis later this month. Molik is an independent physician with Wichita Surgical Specialists.
According to the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, there are no other permanent pediatric surgeons in Wichita.
“We’re very dedicated to children’s services, and we’re really ramping up what we want to do for kids in this city,” Chapman said.
“We just don’t want interruption of service and want people to know it’s here so they don’t have to go anywhere else ... like Kansas City, Oklahoma City or Denver, when we have competent surgeons to take care of it here. We want what’s beneficial to people in the lower two-thirds of the state.”
The clinic will be staffed full time by a registered nurse and either a a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, Chapman said, in addition to the temporary doctors.
This kind of clinic is not like one where you go to see a primary care physician for the flu, Chapman said.
“If a pediatrician or family practice doctor sees a patient and thinks they may need a surgery like a hernia repair or the patient has other issues and they’re just not sure whether they need surgery, they can get a consultation,” Chapman said. “Or if they’ve had surgery and need follow up ... they would go to the clinic.”
Tripp Owings, vice president of business development at Wesley Medical Center, said the hospital is still evaluating whether it will directly hire a pediatric surgeon to fill the gap left by Molik’s departure.
“We need to determine the most appropriate structure for pediatrics and go from there,” he said. “It’s a difficult specialty to fill. There are few fellowship-trained and board eligible pediatric surgeons. There are about 30 per year that come out ready in that area.”