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Top-Notch Care

Posted on September 23, 2020

LeConte’s Registration/Financial Services Manager Has Surgery at “My Hospital”

Sam McGill First impressions matter to Samantha McGill. That’s why she takes pride in her role as the registration and financial services manager at LeConte Medical Center. Leading her team by example, McGill greets each visitor and guest with a smile because it sets the tone for their visit.

“I want to make sure the first face they see is a smiling one, and to help anyone who comes here feel comfortable so they know they’ll be taken care of,” says McGill.

This year she will celebrate 30 years working for the hospital. “The thing I love most about my job is the patients and interacting with them – because I love my community,” she says. “It’s where I was raised. This is my hospital. So I want to make sure we are successful and our patients feel comfortable being here.”

Facing Surgery

As a result of diabetes, McGill has neuropathy in her feet, which means she has numbness and decreased feeling in her toes. She had a persistent wound on her foot that would not get better. Her doctor, Louis Reper II, DPM, is a podiatrist (a specialist who treats conditions of the feet and ankles) who practices podiatric medicine in the Sevierville area. He says he loves the area because of the sincerity and kindness of the people.

McGill experienced a fall in March of this year and the existing wound on her foot became aggravated. The wound worsened and became infected. An MRI revealed osteomyelitis, or infection of the bone. Infections are dangerous for people with diabetes because their immune system can allow infections to penetrate more deeply and spread more quickly.

This past April, McGill was admitted for surgery at her own hospital. Her right big toe was amputated to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. McGill jests, “It was April Fool’s Day, but my toe was no joke.” Dr. Reper says if the toe hadn’t been amputated, she risked further spread of bone infection – possibly becoming septic – and the prospect of losing her foot.

At LeConte Medical Center, McGill switched roles from registration manager to patient. She underwent labs, X-rays, an MRI, and an EKG, interacting with her nurse, anesthesiologist, a pre-op nurse and several members of the surgery team. She recalls her care being nothing short of excellent. “Everyone was great, and they took really good care of me.”

“Samantha made a tough decision to amputate the toe rather than undergo six weeks of IV antibiotics, which isn’t always successful,” says Dr. Reper. “For the most part, she was done with the bone infection and recurrent ulceration once the incision healed. She’s been an awesome patient and person as well.”

Scooting Along

McGill lives in Sevier County with her husband and son, who helped her recover after surgery. She got a kick out of downloading an app that sounds like a bell she could ring to summon them. After getting around on a scooter for the past 15 weeks with her foot in a boot, McGill is thrilled to be walking around again. She still has to keep her foot bandaged and tread carefully, but says that she is doing great. In addition to having a passion for caring for patients, McGill enjoys reading and being outside with her dog, Maisie, a Yorkie-Maltese mix.

McGill is thankful to no longer have pain from the wound and not be at risk of a bone infection spreading throughout her body. However, the experience has taken her on a roller coaster of emotions. McGill admits the idea of surgery made her nervous and recovery was challenging at times, but thanks to her skilled care team and support system, she is now feeling great.

You Can’t Ask for Better People

McGill, who knows all about the staff and facility at LeConte, says you can’t ask for better people. “I have even come here by ambulance due to an allergic reaction,” she says with a laugh, “so I’ve seen every entrance.”

McGill says everyone who cared for her made sure she had what she needed. “They focus on you, make eye contact, speak to you by name, and know why you’re at the hospital.. And that goes for everyone who is treated here.”

LeConte Medical Center offers a full array of outpatient and inpatient surgical procedures giving you a high-quality option for surgery and recovery close to home. Learn more about our surgical services here.