From Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center Health & Lifestyles

Polite and considerate, task oriented and intelligent, Marilyn Roddy of Knoxville has a habit of putting others first. It’s no surprise that she quietly kept going even though she wasn’t feeling well this past March.

Marilyn is thankful for the quality care she received during an emergency surgery by Dr. Joseph Thurman at Fort Sanders Regional.

Through dinner preparations, serving the meal and even as night came she decided not to bother her husband. But after tossing and turning for hours, Roddy came to the conclusion that she was going to have to ask for help. “The next morning I said, ‘You’ve got to take me to the doctor. Something’s wrong. I feel terrible,’” Roddy says.

Persistent Pain

Roddy was experiencing symptoms of appendicitis, a condition in which the appendix becomes irritated and inflamed. It develops when the small opening of the appendix becomes blocked and bacteria takes over.

Dr. Joseph Thurman
General Surgeon

General surgeon Joseph Thurman, MD, of Premier Surgical at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville says that in the early stages there’s usually a vague pain in the area of the belly button, often with some nausea.

“As the appendix gets more and more angered and inflamed, it rubs against the inner lining of the abdominal wall and that’s when the pain moves,” Dr. Thurman says. “You’ll get that sensation of discomfort, almost like a knife stabbing the right lower part of the belly.”

After an examination by her primary care physician, Roddy was sent to Fort Sanders Regional for a CT scan. By the time she got to the hospital, she was doubled over and barely able to walk.

Ending the Pain

In the Fort Sanders Emergency Department, Roddy met her surgeon. Dr. Thurman patiently talked with Roddy in a way that reassured her. “It was just one of those days where you really feel God’s hand on you,” Roddy says. “The right things kept falling into place and I had a real sense of peace that it was all going to be well.”

Roddy’s instincts were right. Her appendix was removed, and she soon found herself recovering in the care of the Fort Sanders Regional nursing staff.

Putting the patient first

When any medical emergency happens, it’s important to be in a place where there is good communication and where attention to the patient’s needs is a priority. Dr. Thurman says treating a patient means more than just fixing what’s wrong physically.

“If you can calm people’s nerves, make them feel like the situation is under control and get them engaged,” Dr. Thurman says, “they can help themselves get better.”

Roddy is back to her busy life, serving her community again. She says everyone she came in contact with at Fort Sanders Regional seemed to have a shared commitment to excellence. “Being competent is important, but if you can be competent and also kind, friendly, and a have a good attitude,” Roddy says, “that’s important, too.”

The surgeons of Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville serve emergency surgery patients Fort Sanders Regional, Parkwest, Physicians Regional and Tennova North Medical Centers.