Guest: Dr. T. Karl Byrne – Department of Surgery
Host: Dr. Linda Austin - Psychiatry
Dr. T. Karl Byrne: My name is Dr. T. Karl Byrne. I am the Medical Director of the Bariatric Surgery Center at MUSC.
Dr. Linda Austin: How long have you been here at MUSC?
Dr. T. Karl Byrne: I have been at MUSC since 1992.
Dr. Linda Austin: What are your areas of special interest?
Dr. T. Karl Byrne: Well, I am a general surgeon but, recently, my interest has focused on bariatric surgery over the course of the last 10 years or so.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, do you do bariatric surgery exclusively?
Dr. T. Karl Byrne: Approximately 80 percent of my practice is bariatric surgery. The rest is general surgery.
Dr. Linda Austin: You said you are the medical director of bariatric surgery. Who is the bariatric surgery team?
Dr. T. Karl Byrne: The bariatric surgery team consists of a program director, who is Amanda Budak, a full-time dietician, Debra Petitpain, a patient navigator, to help patients with their insurance problems and to schedule the patients for clinic and surgery,that is Lisa Jackson, and we have a full-time nurse practitioner, Diana Axiotis, as well as several other people who are peripherally involved, including the members of the Weight Management Center which is fronted by Dr. Patrick O’Neill.
Dr. Linda Austin: As leader of that team, what are some of the principles or values you try to instill in the team? Why is a team approach important? What do you lead them to do?
Dr. T. Karl Byrne: Our philosophy is excellence in care with compassion for a group of patients that we feel are disenfranchised. So, our objective is to facilitate people in achieving their goals in terms of weight loss through surgical methods. In order to do this, we are careful to evaluate, in detail, our patients from the dietetic, psychological and surgical points of view. We have multidisciplinary input into which patients are candidates for surgery, or which patients may be candidates for a weight loss program other than the surgical program. Our objective is to provide the patients with the necessary tool, both surgically and psychologically, to deal with their weight problem and to do this in a compassionate, careful and precise way.
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