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Provider of the Month: Sara Hartsaw, MD, FACS

Editor's note: CEO Andy Fitzgerald announced CCMH's Medical Staff Recognition program at the January 23 Board of Trustees meeting. Below is the January 2014 Provider of the Month.

At CCMH we are fortunate to have a medical staff most rural communities can only hope to experience. We enjoy the privilege of having a base of primary care physicians who are dedicated to our community and who provide excellent care to their patients. Additionally, our medical staff has a multitude of specialists you would not normally find in a smaller community such as Gillette and Campbell County and for that we are grateful. It does not matter if our medical staff member is in private practice, providing care in a clinic, in a surgery suite, in a resident's room at Pioneer Manor or in a hospital room; we appreciate each of them for what they bring to our patients and community. We want to recognize our medical staff throughout the year by highlighting them and shining a spotlight on them so that you can see the person behind the name doctor.

This month, CCMH recognizes one of our general surgeons, Dr. Sara L. Hartsaw. Dr. Hartsaw has practiced at CCMH for 24 years (privileged in 1990) and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Before I mention the details regarding Dr. Hartsaw's practice, it is important to mention that she states her most proud accomplishment is being a mom to five responsible children. This is reflective of Dr. Hartsaw's nature and core value for family. She credits her father who was a physician with being her role model and the reason why she decided even before kindergarten that she wanted to be a doctor. She became a surgeon because she feels that through surgery, she can fix a patient's problem, not just manage symptoms. "A chance to cut is a chance to heal," she says.

In her years as a surgeon, Dr. Hartsaw feels the biggest change she has seen for patients is the short amount of time patients spend in the hospital following surgical procedures. Her philosophy in working with her patients is to, "be nice, be polite, and have a plan to operate on everyone you meet."

Also worth noting is in April 2013, Dr. Hartsaw was commissioned as a Lt. Commander is the United States Naval Reserve. As a member of the Naval Reserves, Dr. Hartsaw will serve one weekend per month, and two full weeks a year, attached to the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, Calif. Dr. Hartsaw also recently completed a basic training in Rhode Island, and even commented that she wished it was longer!

Outside of her work life, Dr. Hartsaw enjoys traveling, cooking and again, being Mom. Dr. Hartsaw is in private practice at High Plains Surgical Associates.

Thank you, Dr. Hartsaw, for your dedication to CCMH, and your service to this country.

Andy