Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Rhoda Jenkins Ford stands tall and proud as ever to be a part of the Baptist Nutrition and Bariatric team. Today, September 16, 2015, marks the second anniversary of her bariatric surgery. And, no, she is not employed there. Ford works as a technical assistant in Cardiovascular Diagnostics at Baptist. But, she has served the Nutrition and Bariatric Center as an example of what can happen with a lifestyle change supported by the Center’s staff. To tell you she put her heart and soul into losing weight is an understatement. Ford has poured her heart into encouraging others who struggle with weight to seek help.
“The Nutrition and Bariatric people are like my family,”added Ford. “About 12 years ago, I had a back injury and got put on steroids for three years. This caused my weight to balloon out of control. But I just got to a point where I wanted to do something about my life.”
Ford had the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery in September 2013. She was 289 pounds. Proclaiming this surgery saved her life, Ford has lost 85 pounds and is off all her medications. She’s only taking vitamins and calcium which is a necessity after surgery.
Baptist began performing bariatric surgery in 2012. Surgeons Matt Jones, MD, and Erin Cummins, MD, perform the procedures. And, in March 2015, Baptist Medical Center became the first hospital in the central Mississippi area granted full accreditation as a comprehensive bariatric facility by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) of the American College of Surgeons and American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The MBSAQIP surveyor stated Baptist’s greatest asset is the experience and dedication of the staff.
Erin Cummins, MD, Baptist’s Metabolic Bariatric Surgery director, added, “We have demonstrated our program meets the needs of our patients by providing and supporting quality improvement and patient safety efforts for metabolic and bariatric surgery patients. As an accredited program, we have demonstrated our center focuses on patient-centered care by providing an experienced, qualified and skilled multidisciplinary team.”
This accreditation demonstrates Baptist’s commitment to delivering the highest quality care for bariatric surgery patients. To earn the accreditation, Baptist met the criteria ensuring its ability to support a bariatric surgical care program and measure up to the institutional performance requirements outlined by the national program’s accreditation standards.
Baptist Surgeon Matt Jones, MD, said, “Using accredited programs is a way patients can verify a practice has resources necessary for optimal care. So, we are excited to be recognized with this honor for our excellence at Baptist.”
Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide both the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients and the support and resources necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, both pre- and post-operatively.
Another Baptist employee, Jamie Baker, who works at Baptist Medical Clinic Clinton as an LPN, said just the daily tasks of being a mom and not paying attention to her own health caused her to disregard her weight gain.
My daughter, Sophia Claire, was born prematurely five years ago. I had just let the stress of that and poor health habits take over,” Baker added. “I was on 32 different medications. My primary care physician brought up the option for me to consider bariatric surgery. I went to the free orientation at the Baptist Nutrition and Bariatric Center and just knew I had to do this.”
Baker had her surgery in February 2013 and weighed 260 pounds. Now, she maintains a weight between 145 to 150 pounds and is off most of her medications as well. She explained that this is a lifestyle change and it’s not easy. There is still that everyday struggle. “But, the Nutrition staff is so supportive and educated. They help in any way they can. Plus, the support groups help you achieve success, too.”
Ford agreed, saying people told her she took the easy way out. “There is nothing easy about this. You have to change your lifestyle just like you have to do on any healthy life plan. It’s a constant battle. I have to maintain appropriate water intake and get the appropriate protein. It is work.”
Take a look at Ford and Baker’s testimonies by clicking here.
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