Hospital's Surgical Staff Cut in Half

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

A local hospital is feeling the effects of a possible war with Iraq. The Medford Hospital lost one of its two general surgeons last Tuesday to an active military call, and there's a chance they could lose the other.

"That is a possibility," said Dr. Lori Stemmerich. "Yes I am a bit nervous about it, but if I get called to serve in that capacity, I think I'm ready to do it."

For the moment, Dr. Stemmerich will be serving as the only general surgeon on staff at Memorial Health Center in Medford.

The hospital says that although it will feel his absence, it was prepared for something like this.

"Elective surgeries may not happen on the same day," said Greg Roraff, the hospital's chief administrative officer. "[But] we did have our contingency plans in place, and she sits right next to me."

Stemmerich says she is confident she can handle the added caseload, without getting overly tired. She says this isn't the first time she's been the only surgeon on call at a hospital.

"In the past, where I've been the only person on call for an extended period of time, I have asked for extra help," Stemmerich said.

The hospital says it can also bring in locum tenentes, doctors who are paid to fill-in on a temporary basis.