Owensboro Health Welcomes Dr. Michael West
For Dr. Michael West, being a cut above the rest is all about avoiding cuts whenever possible.
Dr. West, a new general surgeon joining Owensboro Health Medical Group - Surgical Specialists, specializes in general surgery but also brings to the health system an entirely new capability: Interventional endoscopy and pancreatic/biliary surgery. Using special devices and instruments, Dr. West is able to perform certain procedures on a patient’s pancreas, bile duct, gallbladder or liver without the need for surgery.
Dr. West holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hanover College and attended medical school at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Following that, he completed his surgical training at East Tennessee State University and a pancreatic surgery fellowship at the University of Louisville.
Dr. West is also a graduate of Daviess County High School and is an Owensboro native. Going into medicine happened after he received encouragement and guidance from local physicians.
“The general surgery group helped get me into medicine and into surgery. They were the ones that helped me get a job as an orderly while I was in college. They're the ones that let me spend time with them and piqued my interest in surgery. It's always been a subtle desire to come back and work with those guys,” Dr. West said. “I originally was going to do veterinary medicine and one of the surgeons took me around the hospital and that exposure to surgery and procedures and taking care of people is what changed my mind.”
Dr. West said he is now looking forward to helping patients throughout the region with these types of advanced procedures.
“(I enjoy surgery because) somebody has some kind of problem and I'm able to fix it, and now I'm able to fix it without surgery. If it's a problem in the pancreas, bile duct or liver, it's very rewarding (to be able to treat that). I can save someone from having to go through a major surgery by using a scope and helping to fix their problem, or at least alleviate symptoms if they have a chronic condition,” Dr. West said.
This kind of surgery is so highly specialized, that Dr. West is only the fifth surgeon in Kentucky to be able to perform these types of procedures.
“There are only five people in the state of Kentucky, including me, who take care of pancreatic issues,” Dr. West said. “There's nobody in Kentucky west of Louisville that takes care of this, and nobody at Vanderbilt (University, in Nashville).”
Coming back to Owensboro is also gratifying, Dr. West said.
“There are a lot of people that helped me get to where I am. To be able to come back and provide a special set of skills I feel is my way of giving back to everybody here that helped me get to where I am,” Dr. West said. “It's pretty exciting.”