When Phil Osment needed care for a painful hernia, he struggled to find a surgeon willing to operate on him due to the complexity of his condition.
As an expert in colorectal surgery, Dr. Shibata was able to provide the treatment Phil needed so he can get back to enjoying life and looking forward to the future.
Phil Osment approached surgeon after surgeon seeking care for a large, painful hernia that had grown around his colostomy from a previous bout with colorectal cancer. Each time he heard the word “no,” his quality of life and his sense of hope sunk a little bit lower.
He stopped going to shows at The Orpheum, where he and husband Lee used to be season ticket holders. He subsisted on a diet so limited that the only vegetable he could eat was canned green beans. He even stopped enjoying the simple pleasure of reading a good book.
“Doctors told me the only way they would touch it was if it was a matter of life or death. I talked to four different surgeons in Tennessee and Arkansas, and no one could help,” said Phil, who lives in West Memphis, Arkansas. “Then someone told me about Dr. Shibata.”
David Shibata, MD, FACS, FASCRS is a surgical oncologist specializing in colorectal cancer and Executive Director at Regional One Health Cancer Care and Chair of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Surgery. He is a nationally known expert in surgical treatment of colorectal cancer and participates in national panels that set the standards of care. As such, he has the expertise and experience to help patients with complex diagnoses.
“All the other doctors basically told me, ‘This is your life from now on,’” Phil said. “Dr. Shibata took a different approach.”
“Mr. Osment came to us with multiple problems that stemmed from his permanent colostomy which was necessary from previous treatment for his cancer diagnosis,” Dr. Shibata said. “He had a prolonged history of complications from surgery, a progressively enlarging hernia that recurred despite additional operations using mesh, and a condition called prolapse in which his normally small colostomy telescoped outwards almost a foot to hang down to his upper thigh.”
A surgeon would have to work around extensive mesh and scar tissue to repair Phil’s hernia and redo his colostomy. The fact that the hernia was very large and wrapped around his colostomy meant additional complexity to his operation.
Lisa Erhardt, MSN, APRN, FNP, a family nurse practitioner who works alongside Dr. Shibata to care for patients who need complex colorectal surgeries, said Phil’s case is an excellent example of how Regional One Health provides a level of advanced expertise unique in the Mid-South.
“We had to put the puzzle together and do our homework first,” Erhardt said. “We obtained his records from all over Arkansas. Once we had them, Dr. Shibata was able to come up with a treatment plan that would improve his quality of life.”
Dr. Shibata performed a marathon seven-hour operation to repair Phil’s hernia. He noted several factors must be in place to perform this type of procedure.
“Regional One Health Cancer Care has brand new, state-of-the-art operating rooms as well as the expertise that allows us to perform this kind of surgery,” he explained. “We’ve seen difficult situations before and we have experience treating them. We have spectacular doctors and nurses who are the best in the entire region.”
For Phil, the care he received gave him his life back.
“I haven’t felt this good in years,” he said. “I had lost a lot of my joy in everyday life to the point where I was just going through the motions. I’m glad to get a chance to enjoy life again.”
And he has plenty to find joy in.
Phil, who started his professional life as a 5th-grade teacher before deciding it wasn’t for him, had a long career in the hospitality industry and then in health care administration. He and Lee have been together for nearly 35 years, enjoying shared interests like theater, cooking, books, movies and travel. They’re getting back to all of it, even planning to go somewhere new for their 35th anniversary, with Paris and New York City at the top of the list.
Phil credits Dr. Shibata and his team for making that possible.
“I’ve been to a lot of hospitals, and this one is easily the best. The staff is incredible. They went out of their way to help and answer my questions – they almost anticipate what you need,” he said. “I just can’t say enough about Dr. Shibata. I knew he was a good doctor immediately. He’s direct and straight to the point, but he’s also kind and compassionate.”
After so many doctors and hearing “no” so many times, Phil is grateful the expertise offered by Dr. Shibata and Regional One Health Cancer Care is available right here in the Mid-South.
“Before I saw Dr. Shibata, I didn’t have the best outlook for my future – it was basically just wondering which nursing home I’d end up in,” he said. “Seeing Dr. Shibata changed all of that, and I want people to know that regardless of what other physicians say, there are things that can be done…and they can be life changing.”