A 1,700 mile journey for medical care

Published 6/26/2020

How far would you go to get medical care you were completely confident in? For Marge Coltrin, the answer is about 1,700 miles. The Louisiana woman had already visited a surgeon in Houston, Texas to explore her options for treating a hiatal hernia, “but I was only given two choices and discovered there were surgeons out there who had many more treatment options. So I did my due diligence.” (A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the large muscle separating your abdomen and diaphragm.)

That homework led her to Dr. Robert Catania at CMC’s Surgical Care Group, a practice where Marge’s daughter just happens to be a physician assistant. She had set me up a consultation via telehealth. “Dr. Catania was excellent. He was informative, gave me many options, and plenty of time to ask questions  I felt my best chance for a good outcome would be with him.”

So Marge and her husband got in an RV and made the trip north, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I had to ask myself, ‘How do I want to live my life?’ Everyone in my age group has risks, but you have to consider what your quality of life will be if you don’t take care of your issues.”

Upon arriving in New Hampshire, Marge had pre-admission testing and appointments. She was even tested for COVID-19 to make sure she was healthy enough for surgery. “The entire experience was extremely comforting,” she said, “from the layout to the people taking care of you. Everyone had PPE, followed social distancing. It was very comforting.”

Marge’s surgery was successful and days later she was up and moving around. “My daughter had to remind me to take it easy,” she chuckled. “There are no guarantees, but I knew I’d have the best experience I could at CMC. Between Dr. Catania and the entire team, the whole experience was great. I feel very blessed.”