Shoulder surgery provides patient with another positive experience

In December, Jeannette Baldwin broke the head of her left humerus bone in four places.

In intense pain, she was rushed by ambulance to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis’ Emergency Room.

A week later, she had her repair surgery. A plate and 11 screws were inserted into her arm to piece it back together.

Then, two months later, she had a knee replacement performed by Christopher Halpen, DO, orthopedic oncologist with Ascension Medical Group Via Christi. While using her walker after her surgery, the pain in her arm returned.

“I thought I was laboring it too much so I returned to the surgeon’s office,” says Jeannette. “I was expecting to hear the same thing from them, but X-rays instead showed them that my arm did not have adequate blood flow and the bone was dying.”

The surgeon who did her initial surgery did not do this type of repair. This gave Jeannette an opportunity to find another Ascension Via Christi doctor to add to her team.

Having had such great experiences over the last five years with her primary care physician Arthur Windholz, MD; her pulmonologist Yoseph Yammine, MD; Dr. Halphen and other bedside staff, she sought out orthopedic surgeon Bradley Saunders, MD.

“I went to Dr. Windholz and told him I wanted a referral to Dr. Saunders, another provider under the ‘Ascension umbrella,’ to perform the surgery,” says Jeannette. “He smiled and told me that Dr. Saunders is who he was going to recommend for a referral anyways.”

The next day, Jeannette received a call from Dr. Saunders’ office to schedule an evaluation, which she attended with her son so they could be sure they asked questions and had all of them answered. To their surprise, they didn’t have to ask many of the questions they prepared.

“Dr. Saunders, his physician assistant Jennifer Wagner and his medical assistant taking notes, spent 45 minutes with us going over the information and we didn’t have to ask many questions because of his thoroughness,” she says. “I am grateful I had him because he’s personable, humble and doesn’t miss a thing. I felt so safe and confident about what he was going to do.”

Jeannette’s surgery was done on Aug. 2, for which she only required 27 staples and only had to sleep in a recliner for four days instead of two weeks, unlike her previous surgery. She only required a sling for two weeks and, after that, even took on a project of ripping up carpet in her house without issue.

“There’s something to be said about a surgeon and his team who is so concise,” says Jeannette, who also compliments the compassion of Jennifer and Dr. Saunders’ nurse Rena. “Whatever this guy does, you can tell he loves what he does and does it with such specificity that his level of invasiveness is miniscule.”

At her six week post-op mark, she will begin physical therapy with, you guessed it, Ascension Via Christi.

“I cannot tell enough people my age that getting your care under one umbrella, in one system, having all your records and information in one place, is such a lifesaver,” says Jeannette. “With how quickly everything has happened for me under Ascension Via Christi, this prevented me from having to wait for treatment, be in pain for a long time or experience frustration of keeping my information straight.”

This testimony can be seen in the management of her COPD, for which she finally feels she’s in a comfortable position to live life comfortably. During her pre-surgery appointment, Dr. Yammine reorganized his schedule to allow her checkup to happen instead of having her return after surgery.

“Living with COPD, it is something I know I’ll never cure but Dr. Yammine worked closely with Dr. Windholz and I to give me ‘magic medication’ that actually expanded my lung capacity,” says Jeannette.

While she doesn’t look forward to dealing with medical issues, Jeannette emphasizes that the people at Ascension Via Christi are what make office and hospital visits worth it.

“From nurses, labs, and doctors to housekeeping and food service, and even the food, it was all enjoyable,” she says. “I am blessed for so many reasons in so many ways, but everyone goes out of their way to be caring and loving, they’re just angels.”

Learn more about Ascension Via Christi orthopedic care at