One of the benefits of having a hospital in Carthage is receiving medical care without leaving town, even for treatment as complex as surgery.
“General surgery can be defined as broadly as the surgeon wants to make it,” Dr. Hargroder said. “There are general surgeons who perform one niche. Even though there are specialties, it doesn’t mean general surgeons don’t do specialty surgeries.”
General surgery primarily means the abdominal cavity, he said, so if patients need gall bladder, hernia, appendix or colorectal surgery, breast lumpectomies, skin lesions and removal of masses under the skin, “those are some of the more common surgeries we do in Carthage.”
Most are laparoscopic surgeries, meaning they’re performed through tiny incisions using a small camera to help the surgeon guide the instruments. These minimally-invasive surgeries often result in a quicker recovery time.
Dr. Hargroder can perform a variety of general surgeries in Carthage, but also can do procedures at Mercy Hospital Joplin when needed, like when he expects a patient to need a ventilator after surgery.
“Anyone who needs advanced medical care or the potential for intensive care, those patients we typically will transport and take care of in Joplin,” he said. “I’m trained in much more than what I perform in Carthage.”
Dr. Hargroder has been an independent surgeon for 20-plus years for general and mini-gastric bypass bariatric surgery, but during that time has been affiliated with the former St. John’s Regional Medical Center and now Mercy Carthage and Joplin.
“One of the things that is fun about surgery is every case is a little different,” he said. “The variety keeps life interesting.”
After the May 2011 tornado, while the Joplin hospital was being rebuilt, Carthage needed a general surgeon. Dr. Hargroder filled that void.
“The whole idea of bringing me here was to provide a service to Carthage that has been lacking for a number of years. I feel really good about being able to provide that service here,” he said. “It’s a good population of patients and I see all ages of people.”
Dr. Hargroder is on call for emergency surgeries in Carthage. He splits his time between scheduled and emergency surgeries.
“The thing I love about this hospital is it’s small enough to be easy access for patients. When you walk in the front door, you’re almost where you need to go,” he said. “Working in a smaller community hospital is lot more personable.”
For more information about Mercy Clinic General Surgery – Carthage, 3125 Dr. Russell Smith Way, call 417-206-2900.