Home is where the heart is: Dr Williams on providing world-leading treatment for her small Paducah community
For patients living in rural locations, access to the best technologies for treating breast cancer can be hard to come by without significant travel. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case in Paducah, Kentucky, due to the determination of one hometown surgeon.
When Kristen Williams, MD left Paducah to take up residency at TriHealth in Cincinnati, she knew straight away she’d found her calling in the form of surgery.
However, rather than moving on to another big institution, she had a different ambition – taking the lessons learned from her time among experienced mentors, and the advanced technologies she’d used, back home to the community she’d grown up in.
These new implementations at Baptist Health Paducah included the Sentimag® platform, as well as some of the latest complex oncoplastic procedures, none of which had previously been offered at any center in town.
In this video, she explains just how important it is to be able to provide more advanced breast cancer services to people in rural areas, and close the access gap.
Falling in love with general surgery
During her rotations in medical school, Dr Williams found herself in the operating room, and quickly realized her love for the variety and opportunities to make a difference in general surgery.
She was driven by providing the highest quality of care for so many patients and seeing their positive outcomes, but deep down missed the intimate patient relationships from working in a more remote area.
Once she completed residency, Dr Williams relocated back to Paducah, and explained how she’s really enjoyed getting to know the people behind the treatment.
“The patient connections are amazing and I love practising here. Every patient I meet has some connection to me and that’s just so special,” she said.
“The bond you form with a patient when they literally put their life in your hands is so humbling and unlike any other bond you can make with a complete stranger.”Kristen Williams, MD – Baptist Health Paducah
Having developed those relationships, her next step was pushing through those practice-changing technologies to better serve the community.
Implementing the latest surgical approaches
For the residents of Paducah, Nashville is the next nearest large hospital but is still a two and a half hours drive to reach. Dr Williams was keen to highlight how unfeasible it is to expect patients to have to make that journey on an already stressful treatment day.
“Not only do Magseed and Magtrace help us to treat a patient’s cancer but they also improve a patients journey from a mental standpoint. They say it feels the exact same as their biopsy and there’s minimal pain”Kristen Williams, MD – Baptist Health Paducah
With the addition of breast reconstruction, as well as on-site chemotherapy and radiation therapy now available, Dr Williams believe she is beginning to achieve her mission to provide the full spectrum of breast cancer care to patients at Baptist Health.
“When you live in a big city there are so many options, but if you live in a small town, you don’t have that. So I think continuous innovation for breast cancer treatment is even more important in rural locations.”
“We needed her”
The return of Dr Williams and these new breast surgical advances to Paducah has had a profound effect on the local residents.
“I never thought I’d be able to have this type of care in Paducah,” said Michelle, one of her patients who underwent treatment with Magtrace.
“My friends have always had to travel outside to neighboring cities. When I found out Dr Williams was here and I met her, I just knew we had a good combination”.Michelle, Magtrace Patient – Paducah
Another patient, Dorothy, had heard a number of horror stories regarding guidewire localization, so was grateful to receive a Magseed procedure and explained how it had caused no trouble at all.
“She [Dr Williams] told us that she was from Paducah and she came back because she saw the need for better patient services… and she was right, we needed her” said Dorothy.
For us at Endomag, hearing stories that demonstrate how our technologies are helping to remove the access barriers and deliver an improved level of patient experience and accuracy drives us on to keep supporting better outcomes.
We’d like to thank Dr Williams, Michelle and Dorothy for sharing their experiences. We look forward to hearing more about the further innovative treatments taking place in Paducah in the coming years.