News form Parkwest Healthy LIfestyles

Last December, Lisa Dockery of Knoxville, woke up with stomach cramps that she had never felt before. After a trip to the emergency department at Parkwest Medical Center, she discovered she had appendicitis and underwent emergency surgery to remove her appendix. Two months later, she has fully recovered and is thankful for the excellent care she received in her moment of need.

An appendix attack led to emergency surgery for Lisa.

December Plans

The day she woke up with stomach cramps, Dockery recalls the dull ache subsiding during
the day. “I laid down to rest, and we were watching the Dallas Cowboys game,” she recalls. “I woke up later in the evening, around 6 p.m., with throbbing pain. I thought my stomach was going to explode.”

Lisa’s husband Donnie took her to the emergency department at Parkwest around 7 p.m. that night. She was examined and given IV fluids while diagnostic tests were administered. A CT scan revealed appendicitis, or a condition in which a blockage or inflammation of the appendix causes internal inflammation and can result in abdominal pain around the belly button area.

Surgery at Parkwest

Dockery was admitted overnight and underwent surgery the next morning. She met Shannon Beierle, MD, a Premier Surgical acute care general surgeon at Parkwest Medical Center.

“I see patients all over the hospital, depending on where I’m needed that day,” Dr. Beierle says. “I perform emergency surgery on hernias, gallbladders, appendixes, perforated ulcers and colon obstructions. I see a lot of GI issues and am there when someone needs emergency surgery due to these types of conditions.”

Making a Game Plan

“Once they knew what was wrong, we had a plan, and I was good,” Dockery says. “I was still in pain, but I was constantly being checked on. I remember when the surgeon introduced herself, I was very comfortable with her.”

Dockery underwent an appendectomy, a minimally invasive procedure using three small incisions to remove the appendix. Dr. Beierle says, “This laparoscopic procedure includes dissolvable stitches and patients go home the next day, or in some cases the same day as surgery. After some limited movement and no heavy lifting for a few days, they can get back to normal lives after one or two weeks.”

Dr. Shannon Beierle, Acute Care Surgeon

Dr. Beierle reports that appendicitis is common, in fact one in 10 adults will experience it in their lifetime in the U.S. She says it’s one of the most common causes of acute abdominal pain and often results in emergency surgery.

“When someone is hurting, and comes to the hospital, I love that I’m able to have the tools to relieve the pain,” she says. “I like to work quickly to help people feel better.”

Compassionate Care

Dockery spent one night at Parkwest and went home the next day following her surgery.
“We had already missed the Dallas Cowboys game and luckily we were home in time for the
Tennessee football game,” she jokes.

Dockery recalls, “I couldn’t have been more pleased with Dr. Beierle. When I came back two weeks later for my follow-up, I got to spend more time with her and I enjoyed our conversation.

“The operating room staff were fantastic,” Dockery says. “All the nurses spoke to me, and I remember the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist were wonderful. Everyone made sure there were no complications.”

The Power of a Positive Mindset

Dockery says “I believe our mindset is powerful. After going through a lot, including this emergency surgery, I decided my word of inspiration for going into the new year would be ‘warrior.’ I want to remind myself that I can face whatever is out there.”

Dr. Beierle also has a specific mindset in her approach to medicine, including making sure her patients understand what’s going on and are treated like family.

“I encourage family members to ask questions and be present. I want my patients to feel empowered and know what’s happening with their bodies.” She adds, “I always treat people how I would want my family members to be treated. Anytime someone comes in for an emergency surgery, it can be scary, so my colleagues and I always want to assure people we are here to care for people in the best way possible.”

Dr. Shannon Beierle is an Acute Care General Surgeon with Premier Surgical Associates at Parkwest Medical Associates in Knoxville. To learn more about Dr. Beierle visit: