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General surgeon scrubs in at ACH

By By Janet Little Cooper
For more than two years Atmore Community Hospital, an affiliate of Baptist Healthcare, has been without a surgeon resorting to sharing one with D.W. McMillian Hospital in Brewton on a part-time basis.
But as of Nov. 8, ACH is proud to announce the arrival of full-time board certified general surgeon Dr. Robert Patacsil.
Patacsil earned his degree at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, Mich.
He completed his internship at Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., and his residency in general surgery at Botsford General Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich.
"At the end of my two-year contract I started making contact with medical recruiters in an effort to relocate," Patacsil said. "My wife and I have two young boys and we wanted to move to an area that offered more educational and entertaining opportunities than where we were in Michigan."
Not long after Patacsil's search began, he was bombarded with offers from his home state of California and Ohio.
"We knew that we wanted to move somewhere that had a warmer climate as well," Patacsil said. "Anything in the southeast United States looked good to us."
Among those offers, the position at ACH was brought to Patacsil's attention.
"I came to Atmore by myself the first time," Patacsil said. "I stayed at the Royal Oaks Bed and Breakfast and visited the library. I was extremely impressed with the libraries facilities, especially the second floor devoted to the children. I thought that it was a really nice place here."
After another trip and one by his wife and son, the Patacsil's decision came down to an offer in Ohio and Atmore.
"I kept telling myself not to fall in love with the first offer I received," Patacsil said. "I had three offers in Ohio and two in California. My wife was nervous about driving off the hills in California and earthquakes and then when we talked about Atmore she brought up the issue of hurricanes. After dealing with those issues, we both just really liked it here."
ACH administrator, Bob Gowing, assured Patacsil that Atmore would be a good place to raise his two children.
"My wife found activities for our children," Patacsil said. "Our oldest son Ethan, loved it and is thrilled about being so close to the beach. The small town atmosphere is just what we were looking for. The people here are real genuine and at no time did anyone try to pressure our decision or push us to come to the area. Mr. Gowing just kept telling me that our boy's needed to be raised in the South."
Patacsil is equally impressed with the facilities of ACH. He is looking forward to being an asset to the community who has an obvious need for a full time surgeon.
"They have a lot of technology and machines here," Patacsil said. "I just wanted to work and go to an area that really needed a surgeon and Atmore needed that. I want to help ACH establish itself as having a general surgeon on hand. Having a surgeon on site is a luxury for this area now. If a patient needed surgery before they would have to be transferred out."
Patacsil will be operating out of an office in the medical complex across the street from the hospital. He will see patients that are referred to him by their primary care physician.
"My nurse, Brenda Harris and I have been busy just getting the office in place," Patacsil said. "We are setting things up and discussing the manner in which we will see patients as they come to us. I am also making up a list of procedures that I can do and will be giving that to all of the doctors in town. Here I will be dedicated to one hospital, ACH, opposed to working out of three hospitals in my private practice before."
While Patacsil is already on staff and has already performed a couple of procedures at ACH, his wife Christine and two sons, Ethan, 7 and Mason, 1 are still living in Michigan tying up some lose ends.
"We want to be a part of the community by getting involved in a local church and including our son in civic organizations such as Boy Scouts," Patacsil said. "My son has a passion for baseball and I share the same love with him. We understand that the south is big on baseball so we hope to get involved in that as well. My wife homeschools Ethan and this area has a lot to offer to assist her in that. My wife also loves to garden. This area is classified as a Zone 8 and she is so excited about it because plants that she couldn't plant in Michigan she can plant down here."
When he is not working at the hospital, Patacsil enjoys playing baseball with his son and he also enjoys playing the piano as a form of relaxation.
For an appointment with Patacsil or for other office information call 368-6334.