In The News

New Orthopedic Surgeon joins Medical Staff

 Dr. Mark Thomas joins WVMC Medical Staff Willamette Valley Medical Center is pleased to announce the newest addition to its medical staff,

Great American Smokeout 2016

On Nov. 17th,  individuals across the nation will come together in support of the 2016 Great American Smokeout, an event created by

Making the “A” Grade for Patient Safety

Willamette Valley Medical Center earns straight “A’s” for 2016 Patient Safety from Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade   McMinnville, OR- November 7, 2016

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Zac Woodruff, WVMC Voices

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WVMC's Lori Cutrell, RN donates personal time to travel with "Project Compassion" providing medical care to countries in need.

Leading the Nation in Quality

Willamette Valley Medical Center Earns ‘Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®’ Recognition from the Joint Commission for


Alcoholics Anonymous- Sunday Gratitude Meeting @ WVMC Classrooms (1st floor, across from cafeteria)
Dec 11 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

We now have a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous every Sunday. This is an open meeting for all who are interested in recovery from alcoholism through the 12 Step program, including ambulatory patients and staff. For more information, call Robert (H) 503-835-1042 or (C) 971-259-9145.

New Moms Group @ Birthing Center Classroom
Dec 13 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Moms with babies up to two years old are welcome to join us each week for this very informal session. You’ll meet with other new moms and a registered nurse to discuss infant development, health and social issues, breastfeeding and other important topics. Siblings and toddlers are welcome!

Alcoholics Anonymous- Sunday Gratitude Meeting @ WVMC Classrooms (1st floor, across from cafeteria)
Dec 18 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

We now have a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous every Sunday. This is an open meeting for all who are interested in recovery from alcoholism through the 12 Step program, including ambulatory patients and staff. For more information, call Robert (H) 503-835-1042 or (C) 971-259-9145.

Weight-Loss Surgery Support Group @ WVMC Classrooms (1st floor, across from cafeteria)
Dec 19 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

We offer a support group for anyone that is looking at Weight-Loss Bariatric surgery, or has had Weight-Loss Bariatric surgery before. Everyone is welcome whether you had your surgery at WVMC or at another facility. We will have our program psychologist at each meeting and cover an array of topics. It is a safe, discrete place to gather information and talk to others. If you have any questions, please call Kristi Amerson, program coordinator at 503-435-6432.


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NEW FACE IN TOWN!! We would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Mark Thomas, a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with more than 20 years of experience. He is joining the Willamette Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Clinic.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Dr. Thomas graduated high school with a varsity letter 3 years in a row for baseball and football, the AAU Amateur Athlete of the Year in Swimming award for 1976, a National Merit Scholar, and the Senior Class President. Dr. Thomas was accepted to Rice University in Houston where he majored in biology and minored in philosophy. Following his undergrad he spent three months involved in geology research 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Arctic Wildlife refuge in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska.

Knowing that medicine and helping people was his passion he decided to go to medical school at the University of Texas Health and Sciences Center in Houston. In his fourth year of medical school, Dr. Thomas did a six week medical rotation in China as a part of an exchange program before completing his internship in general surgery and residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Texas- Houston. Training in some of the countries largest facilities, Dr. Thomas had the opportunity to work in the Texas Heart Institute, Hermann Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Shriner’s Crippled Children’s Hospital among others. As chief resident, Dr. Thomas received the Outstanding Resident of the Year award as well as the Research Award for his work on spinal cord injuries.

Upon graduation he began his career in Tennessee where he practiced for more than 20 years. Well versed in orthopedics and exceptionally experienced, Dr. Thomas joins the Willamette Valley Orthopedic & Sports Medicine clinic. In addition to general orthopedics, he specializes in spine surgery and is a member of the North American Spine Society. He also is very skilled in total joint replacement, hand and knee surgery, and foot and ankle surgery.

Appointments may be made by calling
Willamette Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
2700 SE Stratus Ave.
McMinnville, OR
(503) 435-4520

Welcome to Willamette Valley Medical Center’s medical staff Dr. Thomas. We are delighted to have you as part of our team!
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Following Instructions After Surgery
By Zac Woodruff, RN BS

Two weeks ago, our dog tore his left hind-leg CCL (the equivalent of the ACL in a human). Fixing this problem requires surgery in both dogs and humans, and our little guy underwent his “over the top” CCL surgery last Wednesday.

I’m happy to report that the surgery went well and he is slowly recovering at home. But WOW!!! We have been so busy following all of his post surgery instructions.

Ice the incision for 15 minutes 3 times a day. Give him his anti-inflammatory medication in the morning. Perform passive range of motion exercises three times a day for ten minutes, prior to icing. Take him to the vet for laser therapy every day for the first three days, and then every other day for two weeks. Make sure he gets his Gabapentin and his Tramadol, three times a day. Supervise him at all times. Take him out to the bathroom every two hours. The list goes on and on!!!!

Luckily, I am a nurse and I am used to sending people home with and educating them about their discharge instructions, but not everyone has that luxury. The last few days have reminded me how overwhelming discharge instructions can be.

This topic also brings me back about 4 ½ years ago when our daughter had her open-heart surgery. As scary as her surgery was, I remember feeling terrified long after the surgery had ended because there were so many instructions to follow during her recovery at home.

So what can we do to simplify this process and make sure we are doing everything our doctors have asked of us?

I have three suggestions for you that I think will help you immensely with this process.

The first thing to do is create a blueprint timeline. When I approach a nursing shift on the floor, first thing in the morning I lay out a timeline of all the things I need to do that do to ensure I know what and when I’ll be doing them. We nurses call this our “brains”, and it without it, our volume of work would be overwhelming and impossible to keep track of.

This is where I suggest you start. Create your discharge instructions “brains”.

Grab a blank piece of paper and starting at the beginning of the day (or whatever time it is when you get home from the hospital), write out what you need to get done. Review your instructions as you write out the rest of your day, and when you are all done, evaluate your plan to ensure you didn’t miss anything important (this is especially important if you have specific times that you need to take medications).

Next, and this is almost just as important as creating your brains, is to ask for the very best contact number that you can call when you have questions. When I discharge a patient from the hospital, I give them our nursing supervisor direct phone number because I know that 24 hours a day, they can call that number and we can help them out. Make sure you know what number you can call for help.

So now that you have your brains, and your main contact number, the third and final suggestion is to re-read your discharge instructions once you get home, and then again the next morning. I’ve found that when a nurse or doctor is telling you a bunch of instructions before you’ve left the hospital, it can be very hard to remember everything. I always suggest to my patients that after they get home and are in a relaxed environment, they re-review their discharge instructions and ensure that everything makes sense.

I tell them if anything doesn’t make sense, they immediately call their direct contact number to clarify the instructions (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten calls from patients on our supervisor phone because they were unsure about something to do).

And then I recommend they reread and review the instructions again in the morning after they’ve had some rest and can put a fresh set of eyes on the instructions. It’s also not a bad idea to have another family member or trusted friend review the instructions as well to make sure nothing gets missed.

We always want to give our patients the best chance at a full recovery, and the best way to do that is to follow your doctor’s instructions to the very best of your ability and to ask questions when something doesn’t make sense. Now I’ve got to go because it’s time for me to give my dog 10 minutes of range of motion exercise.

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