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Stephanie Armstrong-Helton

Bariatric Surgery Center Opens at St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron
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Local Surgeons Expand Service by Joining Michigan Bariatric Institute

Port Huron, MI…St. Joseph Mercy Hospital is pleased to announce that Zubin Bhesania, MD, and Anthony W. Boutt, MD, have joined with the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) in providing bariatric surgical services. These two leading edge, Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence surgeons are joining SJMHS's Michigan Bariatric Institute and expanding the provision of highly advanced bariatric services across southeastern Michigan.

A surgeon at Huron Surgical Clinic, PC, Zubin Bhesania, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1993, and completed his surgical residency at St. John Hospital in Detroit. Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Bhesania was the first surgeon in the state of Michigan to actively perform lap band surgery and has been involved in several lap band research studies. In addition, he serves as Surgical Proctor for Allergan (maker of lap band), providing lap band surgical training to other surgeons across the nation. Highly skilled and qualified, he is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Anthony W. Boutt, MD, has been on staff at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital since 2002 and has provided general and bariatric surgical services through Huron Surgical Clinic, PC. He obtained his medical degree from Wayne State University in 1997, and completed his general surgical residency at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in 2002. He has been trained and certified in providing bariatric surgery for more than nine years. He is highly honored and has received numerous awards for his work in laparoscopic surgical services. Dr. Boutt is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

The development of the Michigan Bariatric Institute (MBI) includes the opening of a medical center dedicated to bariatric services at St. Joseph Mercy. The comprehensive center will be located on the hospital’s main level, near the Emergency Department. In addition to specialized medical equipment, center patients will be able to take advantage of amenities dedicated to their care. The center will provide a team of bariatric services trained registered nurses, registered dietitians and other specialists, who are all required to take part in uniquely designed sensitivity training.

Leading the center’s opening is Tammy Kwarciak, RN, who has been named Director of Bariatric Services at St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron (SJMPH). Dedicated to providing the most advanced programs and services for center patients, Tammy comes to SJMPH with 10 years' experience providing bariatric clinical coordination and leadership as well as maintaining Centers of Excellence standards for Bariatric Services at an award-winning center.

The St. Clair County Health Department reports that nearly two-thirds of St. Clair County adult residents are above the "normal" healthy body weight. Referring to it as a "national epidemic", the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 66 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Morbid obesity has been widely recognized as a risk factor for many health conditions including hypertension, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, coronary disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and certain cancers.

“We are very fortunate that this important service will be provided by two highly experienced and professional surgeons, who have completed more than 3,000 bariatric cases over their extensive careers,” comments Peter Karadjoff, FACHE, President and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron. "Alignment through the Michigan Bariatric Institute will provide Dr. Boutt and Dr. Bhesania access to health system resources not available before, offering the ability to more readily expand their scope while improving service to the entire southeastern Michigan community. Combined with the MBI, the programs have provided for more than 5,000 procedures over the past several years. That equates to a wealth of experience not available anywhere else in the area.”

Providing services since 2005, the MBI offers a multi-disciplinary team approach to weight loss surgery. MBI surgery centers are also located at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, MI, and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, in Pontiac, MI. St. Mary Mercy Livonia is designated as a Center of Excellence. MBI is committed to assisting patients through every aspect of the weight loss process. From educational seminars to pre-surgical classes to support groups, the MBI staff partner with each patient to ensure a smooth transition through each phase of weight loss as well as enjoying expected outcomes.

"I'm excited about the prospect of teaming up with the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and the Michigan Bariatric Institute that already has a well-established bariatric program in place across southeast Michigan," comments Anthony W. Boutt, MD. "St. Joseph Mercy Hospital has shown us that they are interested in developing a service that provides a level of care that will be second to none in the Thumb region. We will continue to provide excellent service to our current bariatric patients and our commitment to high quality care that focuses on minimally invasive bariatric procedures with low complication rates."

This expansive new program will provide patients access to adjustable gastric banding and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in an environment dedicated to their specific needs. Additional services will include an important medical weight loss program and exercise component as well as panniculectomy, which is the removal of excess skin after substantial weight loss. With qualified staff, dedication to patient care and clinical outcomes, and physician expertise, MBI at St. Joseph Mercy is expected to obtain its national accreditation as a Centers for Excellence program later this year.

"Joining the St. Joseph Mercy family will provide us with new and outstanding opportunities to grow our program and more fully meet the needs of patients throughout the region," explains Zubin Bhesania, MD. "Through our affiliation with MBI, we will expand our professional network to include other highly advanced southeastern Michigan surgeons. And, we will introduce enhanced programs that really provide the level of quality and patient care needed to address the health concerns of this important and growing segment of the population. Finally, we're excited about integrating our laparoscopic expertise  into St. Joseph Mercy’s already advanced program, including laparoscopic gastric, bowel, and other minimally invasive surgeries. We truly look forward to what the future has to offer through this affiliation."

"Losing weight is a challenge for most people," concludes Karadjoff. "Providing a service dedicated to meeting the needs of this unique patient population is just one more example of our commitment to reinvesting health care dollars and our continued work to elevate the health status of our community. We're proud to do this with such an outstanding team."

To learn more about bariatric services at St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, to make an appointment, or to register for one of our upcoming educational sessions, call 810-985-1650.

To find out more about St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron and the Michigan Bariatric Institute, visit us online at: Look for newly scheduled bariatric surgery educational events by following St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron on facebook and twitter.  

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St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron. A member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron (SJMPH)
Founded in 1954 by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Port Huron, MI, is a 164-bed acute care, community-based hospital providing adult medical/surgical services; emergency care; cancer care; cardiac care; inpatient rehabilitation services, including stroke care; orthopedics and joint replacement; bariatric services and a vast number of other outpatient testing, health, and medical services. As a not-for-profit hospital, SJMPH reinvests all profits back into the communities we serve, while providing patients with the utmost compassion and care. SJMPH was recently awarded accreditation from The Joint Commission and was provided its “Gold Seal of Approval”.  SJMPH’s cancer program was named “best in cancer care” and was the first hospital in St. Clair County to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons [2008]. St. Joseph Mercy is only the second hospital in the state of Michigan to offer access to partial knee robotic surgery, and is the first in the state to provide robotic surgery for total hip replacement and access to specialized care through a Senior ER. SJMPH is located in St. Clair County and the Thumb region, northeast of Detroit, Michigan. St. Joseph Mercy Hospital is a member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. For more information, visit:

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