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January 22nd, 2022

mdh surgeryMeade District Hospital has a team of specially trained professionals ready to meet many surgical needs for patients, providing comprehensive, patient-focused, inpatient, outpatient and emergency care. Courtesy photoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


When patients have surgery at Meade District Hospital, they have a team of specially trained professionals to care for them.

In addition to surgeons and anesthetists, MDH’s surgery team includes registered nurses, operating room technicians, and sterile processing technicians – all with a focus on providing safe, quality, and personalized care.

Surgery Director Starla Kernell, a registered nurse, has been working with the hospital for 18 and a half years, having gotten her degree from Dodge City Community College.

“I started working on the floor,” she said. “I worked there about seven years and then came into the surgery department. I was pre-op and recovery and then manager and now director.”

Kernell said a love of medicine runs in her family.

“My family’s in the medical field,” she said. “My mother was in it, and all of my kids are in it.”

What Kernell loves most about working in health care is caring for people.

“I really enjoy taking care of people,” she said.

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MDH offers a wide variety of surgical procedures including: 

• General surgery;

• Lumpectomy, colonoscopy, EGDs, tubal ligations, hernia repair, gall bladder, hemorrhoidectomy and more;

• GYN;

• Cervical leep excision or conization;

• D&C;

• Diagnostic and operative laparoscopy;

• Endometriosis surgery;

• Female incontinence surgery;

• Hysterectomy;

• Novasure Endometrial Ablation;

• Prophylactic removal of ovaries;

• Routine vulvar surgery;

• Tubal ligation;

• Orthopedic;

•  Total hip replacement via anterior approach;

• Total knee replacement (patient-specific);

• Total shoulder replacement (patient-specific);

• ACL reconstruction;

• Rotator cuff repair;

• Sports-related injuries; 

• Radio frequency ablations for pain;

• Pain management;

• Cervical, thoracic and lumba epidural steroid injections;

• Sacroicial joint, facet joint and hip injections;

• Trigger point injections for muscle tension;

• Occipital nerve blocks for migraine headaches; and 

• Urology

Kernell said this list is quite big for a hospital the size of MDH.

“We cover a lot of surgeries for such a small hospital,” she said. 

Kernell said many small hospitals do not offer  general surgery, GYN or other services the Meade hospital does.

“We do a lot of orthopedics,” she said. “Usually, you have to go to a big hospital to get that. Our GYN services for women, that’s a newer service for us. You don’t usually get that at small hospitals either.”

Kernell said all of MDH’s doctors are proactive when it comes to learning new ways to deal with medical problems.

“They’re always researching new techniques,” she said. “Meade Hospital’s very good about keeping up on our equipment and our techniques so we are up to date.”

Kernell said the hospital does have some new equipment in its arsenal.

“Our GYN uses a machine called a Novasure, which is an ablation machine for uterine walls,” she said. “Our pain management, Brett Martin, he’s recently obtained his certification to do RF (Radio Frequency) ablations for nerve pain, which is knees, hips and shoulders. That’s new.”

Kernell said appointments for surgeries go through a patient’s primary care provider.

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“We don’t do emergency surgeries here,” she said. “We just do scheduled surgeries. If somebody comes into the ER and needs an emergency surgery, they would have to go somewhere else.”

Kernell said referrals are taken from several outside providers.

“They send them to us to the specialty doctors,” she said. “The patient’s primary provider refers their patient to a specialty provider we have. They have to go see that specialty provider, and we schedule it here at the hospital.”

Kernell said the COVID-19 pandemic has had little effect on MDH’s surgical department.

“We have not cut back on any services so far,” she said. “A lot of bigger hospitals, they have canceled their scheduled surgeries, but we still do scheduled surgeries.”

Likewise, Kernell said there has been little effect on the number of surgeries doctors have done.

“They’ve remained about the same,” she said. “They haven’t increased, but they haven’t decreased either.”

MDH’s comprehensive, patient-focused, inpatient, outpatient and emergency care comes with a team, Kernell said, that is decated to friendly, high-quality care and state-of-the-art medical technology.

“We take very good care of our patients,” she said. “We have a zero infection rate at our facility. Patients come here. They feel more comfortable here. We’re more one on one here, in the OR especially. Our patients are always satisfied.”


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