Casper resident, needing surgery, may have to go elsewhere

A Casper resident in need of a serious operation says he was advised by his doctor to go somewhere else.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:27 PM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A Casper resident in need of a serious operation says he was advised by his doctor to go somewhere else...

To not have it done at the local hospital he had planned on going to.

Michael Parrish has had a bad back for two decades. Stemming from work related wear and tear. Which has required multiple operations.

“Over the last 20 years, I’ve had a fusion surgery every year and a half. And I’ve had, I believe, six at Wyoming medical center, three in Cheyenne, one at Mountain View...”

Parrish says that even mundane tasks can be a challenge.

“I’m bent forward. All my weight’s forward. And it makes it very difficult to walk. I mean, walking, even at the grocery store, even if I can put my weight on the cart, is very difficult. And what it’s doing... It’s prematurely wore my hips out and my knees out.”

The next surgery he needs would straighten his spine, helping his posture. But according to his doctor, that’s where the problem lies.

“The level of care there is not adequate to do the surgery. Because it’s a high risk surgery, and the possibility of me going into the ICU is pretty high. And they do not have a physician. (We’d) talk to somebody in Arizona on a computer screen.”

Michael’s wife, Molly, prefers in-person ICU physicians because of a scare after a previous surgery, when complications set in.

“We had to make a decision, right then and there. And Michael’s had multiple surgeries. So many and I’ve been through this. And I thought, ‘I’ve never had it where they said, you have to pick a good choice, and you have no time to do it.’ And so you really need somebody that’s talking to you and that will help you get through this. And I can’t imagine having to do that through a monitor.”

When asked about the possibility of having to go out of state for the operation, Michael says, “If I go to another state... We’re looking at New York... Maybe California. And that’s a big traveling issue with me. Especially now that I’ve had the blood clot. And that is always a concern. And um... So we don’t know what we’re going to do.”

I did reach out to the hospital, Banner Wyoming Medical Center, to see if they are currently short staffed... And they did issue a statement. It reads in part, “Our ICU is staffed appropriately to care for all ICU patients.” And in regards to care provided via electronic or telecom ICU physicians, they say “This is a common best practice used in health systems across the country.”