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The Importance of Healthcare Close to Home: Michelle’s Story

Having personable and competent doctors close to home was not something Anacortes resident, Michelle Hackstadt, often thought about. She and her family were healthy and active which is why emergency surgery was not in her plans. As a teacher at Anacortes High School and a mother of three girls, Michelle’s life was already full. But when abdominal pain started keeping Michelle up at night, high-quality care close to home became a critical need.  

One summer night, Michelle began having uncomfortable abdominal pain. The pain eventually went away so Michelle thought nothing of it. A week later the pain came back. Again, the pain kept Michelle up at night, but it eventually went away. This happened several times over 2 -3 weeks.

Finally Michelle found time in her busy schedule to go to the doctor. She had several tests and an ultrasound done at Island Hospital. The next day she got a call saying she needed to have surgery to remove her gallbladder as soon as possible.

Michelle became anxious. Her daughters were worried. But Dr. Keri Weigle, surgeon at Island Hospital, gave Michelle and her family peace of mind. “I felt like Dr. Weigle spent the time to get to know me as a person first. This gave me peace because I knew I wasn’t just another surgery patient. Dr. Weigle took the time to connect and answer all of my questions,” recalls Michelle.

The gallstone was larger than anticipated causing the surgery to last longer than first thought. Because of the size of the gallstone, Dr. Weigle had to change her surgical plan mid-surgery. “Dr. Weigle adjusted with precision,” said Michelle.

For Michelle’s husband, John, having high-quality medical care close to home gave him comfort. As he waited for the surgery to end, John knew it was a quick 5 minute drive home if his girls needed him there, and that he could also be back by Michelle’s side at the hospital quickly if needed.

“I am so thankful to have such a great surgeon close to home. I was in the comfort of my own home to recover that same day!” said Michelle.

Doctors are often also caregivers, trusted advisers, friends and heroes. They are committed to improving your health and the health of your family, friends, and neighbors, like Michelle. When you give a gift in honor of your doctor, you not only encourage a remarkable provider, but you also support the compassionate care they give every patient, every day.

Participate in National Doctors’ Day by clicking the button below to make a gift online or mail a check to Island Hospital Foundation, 1211 24th Street, Anacortes, WA 98221 with the name(s) of the provider(s) who would like to honor in the memo line.