Community Impact Publication 2020


Great Plains Health adds neurosurgery program

In the United States, there are approximately 3,500 neurosurgeons to serve a population of more than 311 million people. To say that neurosurgeons in rural America are hard to find is an understatement. In March, Great Plains Health began recruiting Dr. W. Lee Warren to become North Platte’s first neurosurgeon, and by June Great Plains Health Brain & Spine opened with two providers, Dr. Warren and Starr Bartlett-Rone, PA. “When we brought Dr. Warren on board, we knew it would be incredibly beneficial to our community and the surrounding areas,” said Ivan Mitchell, Great Plains Health chief operations officer. Bringing neurosurgery to the region was a game-changer. “Previously, residents would have to travel long distances to see a neurosurgeon,” explained Mitchell. “Already, we’ve been able to treat many patients here with the quality of neurosurgery and expertise one would only expect to find in a larger city.”

Dr. Warren grew up in Broken Bow, Okla., with a population around 4,000. “I am a small town guy at heart,” said Dr. Warren. “I feel a real connection to the land and to those who work the land. They are my people, and that’s who I want to serve.” “What has been built here has no compromise. Great Plains Health has added another line of world-class level service.” -DrW. LeeWarren Although Great Plains Health is not located in a big city, Dr. Warren said, “It has been clear to me since I arrived that the entire team at GPHealth truly wants what is best for the patient and they are willing to do what it takes to ensure that care is the highest quality. This includes state-of-the-art equipment investments, such as the Aesculap 3D robotic surgical microscope, for which North Platte became the first delivery site in the world. He continued, “Great Plains Health has added another line of world-class level service.”

Saving lives in the Middle East In 2004, Dr. Warren, a member of the United States Air Force, was deployed to Iraq. He described performing brain surgery in a tent in the middle of the desert. “It reframed the way I thought about surgery,” Dr. Warren said, “You learn quickly to differentiate between what you want and what you need.” During his time overseas Dr. Warren performed lifesaving surgery for many. “We operated on whoever needed it,” said Dr. Warren. “Sometimes it was soldiers, sometimes it was residents and other times it was the terrorist who had just planted a bomb. We worked to save every life.”

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