A sizable group of people came together at the YMCA in Vandalia last Thursday to meet Dr. Brian Ellefsen. He was there with representatives from Noble Health Audrain Community Hospital located in Mexico, Mo. Everyone assembled in the Y cafe for the meet and greet.
Ellefsen, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, was making his rounds in the surrounding communities to let people know that he has joined the staff of doctors at Noble health to help serve Audrain County. Standing before the group, he talked a little bit about his background.
“I grew up in a town the size of Mexico, so this move is a great fit for me. I have practiced rural medicine, with over 25 years’ experience in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery. I have recently bought a house here, so I’m vested and really tickled to be here.”
Speaking on behalf of Noble Health, Co-Founder Tom Carter said, “Since buying the hospital back in March, our goal has been to make it what it once was; a true regional health care destination. So, we have done our due diligence in conducting town hall meetings where we would spend 10 minutes talking about who we are, and about an hour of listening to what the needs are of the local communities. One of the main things that we heard, was ‘We need orthopedics.’ And so that is what brings Dr. Ellefsen here today.”
While answering questions after his introduction, Ellefsen explained some of the more impressive capabilities that are available today.
“We have GPS (Guided Personal Surgery) capability, which precisely guides the incision and can make all the difference in how fast you recover. It is on point. If you have people with a corkscrew femur for example, all of your external points are off, and this will automatically line everything up for you. It is state of the art.”
One of the best advantages to having Ellefsen here in Audrain County, Carter said is that it will greatly reduce the distance that a patient would have to drive in the event of a broken bone.
“We can potentially save someone with a broken hip a 60-minute ride on a bumpy road in an ambulance,” he explained. “And then the family can’t go see them because they can’t get off work and it’s too far for them to drive. And so, this service is going to be an important aspect of the community.”
Carter emphasized the importance of having doctors like Ellefsen on board at Noble Health.
“We have told folks that we want to increase services to make this a health care destination,” he noted. “We had found that over $15 million a year was leaving Audrain County for health care service. We want to bring back as many of those health care dollars as possible. We are not going to be all things to all people. We are not an acute, level-one trauma center, we aren’t doing brain surgery, but we can be many things to many people, and provide many different services to the area.”