Inaugural brain surgery performed in Hays County

The first brain surgery conducted in Hays County was successfully completed in September, with the patient now fully recovered, according to officials at Seton Medical Center Hays.

Before this year, emergency services rushed trauma patients to Level I trauma centers in Austin and San Antonio, a sometimes life threatening trip for victims of car accidents and serious medical issues.

Earlier this year, Seton Hays announced it was now a Level II trauma center, allowing the facility to take in nearly every kind of major medical issue.

The size of Hays County requires a more advanced facility than what has been offered in the past, according to Seton Hays officials.

The trauma center began operations as a Level II facility Sept. 10. Now, the hospital offers trauma surgeons 24 hours every day specializing in neurology and orthopedics.

Dr. Robert J. Buchanan, Chief of Neurology with the Seton family of hospitals, oversees nine neurosurgeons, specifically at Dell Seton in Austin and at Seton Hays. Buchanan performed the first brain surgery in Hays County shortly after the trauma center reopened.

“It took millions of dollars to upgrade the facilities to be a Level Two trauma center, but with it, we can ensure patients get treatment here,” Buchanan said. “It can be dangerous to transport patients all the way to Austin and San Antonio.”

Buchanan and his team offer scheduled surgeries in addition to emergency surgery at Hays Seton. The first brain surgery was an emergency patient who was rushed into the emergency room and into Buchanan’s care.

“(The patient) was able to go home the same day and recover very quickly,” Buchanan said. “It’s important to us and to the area that we can provide that.”

According to hospital officials, that patient has fully recovered and there have been several similar surgeries since. Each surgeon schedules weekly procedures making Hays County a busy hub for neurology.

Ann Howser, Seton public relations specialist, said the hospital has been known as a community hospital for years, but is much more now with a new, large Intensive Care Unit, a radiology lab, a blood bank and an inpatient pharmacy.

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