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Encouragement, expertise give 'fresh start' to bariatric patient

Encouragement, expertise give 'fresh start' to bariatric patient
It’s often said that “teamwork makes the dream work.” For one patient, a team of dedicated caregivers at Carle Bariatric Surgery made their dream of a healthier lifestyle a reality.

When Mattoon’s Colin Leggett scheduled a visit with his primary care provider, he didn’t like what he heard.

“My insulin was at the highest it could go, and I weighed 313 pounds – my heaviest,” Leggett said. “He told me if things didn’t change I could be looking at death.”

After exploring his options, Leggett settled on Carle Foundation Hospital and its nationally-recognized team of experts.

Carle holds a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation through the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and the Bariatric Surgery, emphasizing the quality of care patients receive from a multispecialty team of doctors, nurses, dietitians, and more. The first bariatric surgery performed at Carle took place in 2001 by Uretz J. Oliphant, MD, Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Oliphant is still practicing at Carle today.
 “It’s important for people to know that they don’t need to travel far to receive the best in bariatric surgery,” Christian Perez, MD, medical director, Bariatric Surgery, said. “The highest level of care and surgical expertise is right here in our own back yard. When you choose Carle, you are choosing a high quality team dedicated to making you the healthiest version of yourself.”  

Working with Lindsey Eichelberger, NP, Bariatric coordinator, and Lindsay Grigsby, NP, General Surgery and Bariatrics, to make a care plan, Leggett felt inspiration to lead a healthier lifestyle.

“They talked to me like I was a human being for the first time in my life. I wasn’t just a number or another patient,” Leggett said. “To have a surgery, I knew I had to make some changes first. I reduced the amount of pop I drank and started walking three to five times a week.”

With a wife and daughter to care for, Leggett was now motivated to take these steps.

He quickly noted differences – a decrease in his weight and an increase in energy level. After six months, he was down 68 pounds.

“They laid out all my options and helped me understand which procedure has the smallest risk of relapse,” Leggett said. “With their help, I decided a laparoscopic gastric bypass was the best choice for me.”

During a gastric bypass, surgeons make small abdominal incisions and use special stapling instruments to create a new, smaller stomach pouch. This helps patients to feel full with less food.

Blair Rowitz, MD, Bariatrics, associate chief medical officer, Specialty Institutes and Surgical Services, performed the procedure.
“When patients come to us for any bariatric surgery, they can take comfort in knowing they are going to get the highest quality care from an experienced team,” Dr. Rowitz said. “Our accreditation further recognizes the work we are doing in terms of high-quality outcomes, a comprehensive approach to patient care and availability of specialists for every patient need.”

After a successful procedure with Dr. Rowitz and his team, Leggett began to notice significant, positive changes. Within only a few weeks of recovery, he was back on his feet watching his goal weight inch closer.

“Before my surgery, I had no energy. It felt like I had nothing. After the surgery, the weight began to fall off,” he said. “Now, I am down 175 pounds, and I wear skinny jeans!”

While the physical transformation was rewarding, Leggett noted the talent, compassion and expertise made the difference.

This procedure gave Leggett a fresh start on the life he knew he wanted—and needed.

“I truly owe my life to the nursing staff and doctors at Carle,” Leggett said. “If you are at all considering a fresh start and have any reservations, do it. If you do what the team tells you to do, you’re going to lose the weight for good. No question.”

Visit or call (217) 902-2100 to learn more or a schedule an appointment with the nationally recognized Carle Bariatric Surgery team.

Categories: Culture of Quality

Tags: “gastric, “weight, bariatrics, bypass”, loss”, surgery