Monday, December 22, 2014

New health professionals open files on ottawa life

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 8/14/2013

Ottawa pharmacist Gene Milburn cannot leap a building in a single bound.

But if he tried, Larry Felix, chief executive officer of Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, said he had just the man to put Milburn back together — orthopedic physician assistant Chet Kozak.

Ottawa pharmacist Gene Milburn cannot leap a building in a single bound.

But if he tried, Larry Felix, chief executive officer of Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, said he had just the man to put Milburn back together — orthopedic physician assistant Chet Kozak.

Kozak, an Air Force veteran and Leavenworth native, was one of two new health care professionals in Ottawa who Felix introduced during the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored annual luncheon to recognize new educators and health care professionals in the community. More than 100 people attended the luncheon Wednesday at Garfield Elementary School, 1213 S. College St., Ottawa, which also included the introduction of more than 20 educators from the Ottawa school district, Ottawa University and Neosho County Community College. Profiles of new teachers in the Ottawa, Central Heights, Wellsville and West Franklin school districts are scheduled to appear in The Herald’s Weekender edition.

Milburn, owner of Kramer Pharmacy, 134 S. Main St., Ottawa, received the chamber’s quarterly image award to open the program Wednesday. Stan Shisler, Chamber representative, also presented Milburn with a Superman cape for his heroic service to the community, he said.

Felix used that opportunity to talk about how Kozak could patch up Milburn if the pharmacist tried to use that cape and jump from the top of the building like Superman, to laughter from the audience.

The hospital’s chief administrator also drew chuckles from the crowd when he told a joke about one of his initial conversations with Dr. Ty Richardson, the new urologist affiliated with Ransom hospital.

Felix said he asked Dr. Richardson to explain the medical procedures that he did to ensure the hospital had the right equipment and space to accommodate him.

“He said, ‘If it’s stopped up, I unstop it. If it’s leaking, I stop it,’” Felix said. “I had to tell you that joke because Dr. Richardson never would have told you that joke.”

The administrator referred to Richardson as the consummate professional who could provide a wide range of urology services.

After the luncheon, Richardson expanded on that point.

“We can perform 90 to 95 percent of urology care locally,” Richardson said, adding that patients no longer had to drive to the Kansas City metro area to receive care for a wide range of conditions, from kidney stones to prostrate problems.

Richardson’s office is located across from the hospital in the Medical Arts Building, 1402 S. Main St., Ottawa. He performs surgical procedures at the hospital on Mondays and Thursdays, he said.

Richardson was impressed with the operating room at Ransom hospital, he said.

“They just remodeled, and they have state-of-the-art equipment, which I found very appealing,” Richardson said. “The other thing I like about Ransom is the staff is very good. You want to have everything ready as much as possible before you begin an operation [to avoid surprises or complications], and I never have to worry about that at the hospital. I feel very comfortable there.”

Richardson, a 1983 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, worked in surgery and urology in St. Louis from 1983 to 1988, followed by a 20-year stint practicing urology medicine in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles, he said.

“I wanted to move back to Kansas to be closer to my parents, who were getting older,” Richardson, 57, said.

Richardson, a Wichita native, has two grown sons, Chad, 30, a speech pathologist in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Cale, 26, a New Orleans-based commercial diver, he said. The doctor also has a 20-month-old stepdaughter, Sophee. His wife, Kylee, is a registered nurse who is studying to become a nurse practitioner, he said.

Richardson was affiliated with the St. Luke’s health care system in the Kansas City metro area before coming to Ottawa, he said.

“There is nothing wrong with St. Luke’s, but it just wasn’t the right fit for me, so I started looking around,” Richardson said. “After talking with Larry, I thought Ransom would be a good fit for me, and I think he felt the same about me. I’m pleased to be here.”

Orthopedic physician assistant Kozak also said after Wednesday’s luncheon that he made the right choice coming to Ottawa.

Kozak, 58, received his degree in physician assistant studies at Wichita State University and a master’s degree in the field from The University of Nebraska Medical University, Omaha.

“I’ve been in [the medical field] for 31 years,” he said.

Kozak, who retired earlier this month from the U.S. Air Force Reserve after 22 years of military service, has worked for several Veterans Health Administration hospitals, including the one in his hometown of Leavenworth, where he was based before coming to Ottawa to reunite with Dr. Dale Dalenberg, an orthopedic surgeon at Ransom. Kozak, who worked with Dalenberg at the VA hospital in Leavenworth and in his clinical practice, said Dalenberg recruited him to come to Ottawa.

Kozak also worked for the VA hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, from 2002 to 2011, when he wasn’t deployed on military tours to Iraq and Mongolia, he said.

“My son, Ben, plays football for Benedictine [College in Atchison], so we wanted to move back to this area [from Alaska],” Kozak said.

The veteran health care professional and serviceman was stationed in the orthopedic trauma unit at the U.S. Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, from 2005 to 2008, he said.

“It’s the first Air Force field hospital since Vietnam,” he said.

Kozak said Ransom hospital was a good fit for him, and that he enjoyed the Ottawa community.

“Ottawa is like a well-kept secret,” Kozak, who became affiliated with the hospital in April, said. “I like the community, and the people are very friendly.”

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