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Rose Marie Boen

  • Author: Rose Marie Boen
  • Date Submitted: Feb 19, 2018
  • Category: General Care

When Rose Marie Boen needed a surgeon to remove gallstones, she turned to social media.

After posting about her medical issue on Facebook, a consensus opinion emerged: the person who could provide Rose with quality care close to home was Dr. Abiy Meshesha, a Visalia general surgeon affiliated with Kaweah Health Medical Center.

“Everyone said he is a great doctor, he’s very nice and has a great bedside manner,” said Rose, a 53-year-old mother of three from Visalia.

Rose was in the market for a surgeon after learning - the hard way - that she had developed gallstones, which are small, stone-like objects that form when the liquid in the gallbladder hardens. Gallstones affect more than three million people in the United States every year, predominantly those over 40.

One night in early May, Rose got sick and began experiencing abnormal bowel movements. The next day, Rose was overcome with excruciating pain and began vomiting.

"I thought I was going to have a heart attack," Rose said. "My chest plate was in pain. I couldn't stand it. I cried and cried."

Rose dealt with the pain for about five hours before she called an ambulance, which took her to Kaweah Health Medical Center.

Once in the Emergency Room, Rose was taken for an ultrasound which revealed the gallstones. She was given medication for the pain and sent home to begin the search for a surgeon. A close friend and a relative both recommended Dr. Meshesha, as did several friends on Facebook as well as her general practitioner, Dr. Alberto Ruvalcaba.

Rose quickly went to see Dr. Meshesha, who laid out options which included open surgery, done through a large incision in the abdomen, or a laparoscopic procedure, a minimally invasive surgery performed with specialized tools through four small incisions through the belly button.

"I tell them the advantages and disadvantages of both, not only from a text book but from personal experience," said Dr. Meshesha, who estimates he performs between 400 and 500 gallbladder surgeries a year.

Rose was apprehensive about undergoing surgery, but was reassured by friends that Dr. Meshesha's was the right doctor for her. She decided on the laparoscopic approach, which is considered among the safest of all surgical procedures and performed on roughly 750,000 people in the United States each year according to

Dr. Meshesha guided a small, lighted camera through Rose's abdomen that allowed him to conduct the procedure while watching through a monitor. He removed 17 gallstones and her gallbladder.

After Rose returned home, she received a check-up call from Dr. Meshesha.

“I really appreciated that,” said Rose, who added she was back to living a normal life within a couple days after surgery. “I had a wonderful experience with him.”

Rose, who has had six surgeries at Kawaeh Health since 2004, knows that at Kaweah Health, nurses and other hospital staff are committed to quality and deliver a personal, professional and compassionate health care experience.

“I’ve had a lot of good experiences there,” said Rose, who has had a hysterectomy, her thyroid removed, shoulder surgery and feet and ankle surgeries performed at Kaweah Health. “The nurses are great.”