In recent months, Memorial Hospital of Carbon County has managed to add an elite group of physicians to their roster.

With professionals considered to be in their prime, according to medical standards, MHCC’s process of modernizing their healthcare system, so as more local patients aren’t forced to seek help elsewhere, is certainly underway.

One new addition, Orthopedic Surgeon Kaare Kolstad, MD, is an acting element of this modernization. The Rawlins Daily Times recently caught up with Kolstad for a quick Q&A session… All this after he executed a long morning in OR on Thursday.

To schedule your next appointment with Dr. Kolstad call the Wagon Circle Orthopedic Clinic of Rawlins at 307-324-6022, or call the Memorial Hospital of Carbon County at 307-324-2221.

RDT: I understand you were in the OR this morning?

Kolstad: Yes.

RDT: How’d that go?

Kolstad: Well…it went really well.

RDT: I understand you’re relatively new to this areas?

Kolstad: Yes.

RDT: When did you start practicing here?

Kolstad: I think we started about a month ago.

RDT: How’s everything been transpiring since then?

Kolstad: Good…I think that we’re working to really change the system here. We have a new Or director, we have a new orthopedic surgeon, which is me, we have a new general surgeon, and from my understanding we have an OBGYN who’s relatively new. So, we’re really looking to revamp everything, modernize everything. I think there were some things that were kind of not being kep up with current trends in surgery and techniques. Between all of us, I think that’s going to change radically. A lot of us are in our prime. A lot of us have years of experience. I can say that, myself, I was at the biggest medical center in the world for the 16 years of my career down in Houston, Texas.  I moved for family reasons, to be in more of the outdoor areas…Houston’s a big city. So, I really think we’re making a lot of progress in terms of really bringing us up and really being a cutting-edge place.

RDT: This process of modernization, how is that going to benefit your clientele? How far does that go?

Kolstad: What do you mean how far?

RDT: I mean, if you’re saying that ‘before’ some things needed to be changed…

Kolstad: Well, I can tell you that in orthopedics before, a lot of cases were being sent elsewhere. Whether the other previous surgeon wasn’t comfortable, whether they didn’t have the equipment here…we’re changing all that. A lot of stuff that I do is arthroscopic surgery, so it’s minimally invasive. I’m doing joint replacement surgery, where a lot of the cutting guides are custom-made cutting guides for the patient, which we design off a special CAT scan software programming, which I brought to the hospital. So we have it now in the hospital, so these patients are getting scanned before their surgery, and then we’re able to design specific cutting guides for that particular patient, that’s only used on that patient, so it’s much more precise. These are just a couple of the examples that are going here… The hospital has great OR’s, but in my specific specialty, we’re bringing things up to the 21st century.

RDT: Did you derive a lot of these ideas from your experience in Houston?

Kolstad: Yes, from my previous experience in Houston. And I’ve also been in Denver for the last five years, at a bigger institution. And I still do some time in Denver. I’m here like every other week, and on those off weeks I’m still operating down in Denver.

RDT: Where are you originally from?

Kolstad: Originally, I’m from the East Coast. So, I’m from Connecticut – that’s where I grew up and went to college and medical school. And then I trained in Philly and New York City, and then I started my career in Houston, where I actually taught other training orthopedic surgeons as residents and then specialty training in fellowship there for years.

RDT: Is it tough having such an itinerant schedule?

Kolstad: No, I enjoy it. I enjoy coming into places; it’s a challenge to me to bring those places up to current standard – at least in my specialty. So, it’s a lot of fun for me to build a program, and I’m hoping to really change things here. I know a lot of patients and people in town have been going elsewhere, so I really want to change the culture of orthopedics here in town.

RDT: If a person down need surgery or a practitioner, what’s the process?

Kolstad: They can get a hold of us. Certainly, the primary care physicians in town now are aware of us. But you can call the hospital and they can direct you to our clinic. We have someone here all the time to schedule appointments, so that would be the best way to go about that.

RDT: I know it’s kind of general, but what do you love about the job? Why’d you go through all that training and studying to do what you do?

Kolstad: It’s an interesting question in the sense that, especially to be a sub-specialist in medicine, in the surgical specialties, it’s a very delayed gratification to go through all that training. I tell a lot of people who are interested, who want to do it, as long as you’re prepared to bear down and spend a long time before you come out as a fully licensed, practicing surgeon…as long as you’re willing to do that, where your other friends have jobs, they own homes…those are things you’re going to have to put off for a long time. But at the end of the tunnel, it’s just a wonderful opportunity on lots of levels. I mentioned it’s delayed gratification; well actually, when you’re taking care of people as an orthopedist, the nice thing about orthopedics is that it’s not a delayed gratification specialty. So, I can take someone who has a broken bone or a torn ligament or a worm-out knee, and I can alter the course of their pain, their disability, literally overnight. So, that’s really nice. In orthopedics, it’s more of an instant gratification, and this is just a really good feeling.