About LifeCircle Women’s Healthcare

LifeCircle Welcomes Dr. Cynthia Harris

Dec. 1, 2017 - LifeCircle Women's Healthcare proudly announces the addition of Dr. Cynthia Harris to our team of Board Certified Physicians. Dr. Harris has many years of experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has served the greater Cleveland area for 14 years and we look forward to her continuing to provide excellent care to her patients and ours at LifeCircle Women's Healthcare. We are now scheduling appointments beginning in January, call our office today at (423) 339-1400 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Harris.

Tennova introduces new robotic surgery capabilities

By ALLEN MINCEY allen.mincey@clevelandbanner.com

Doctors who are trained in the Da Vinci robot and can perform surgery using the technology were present Monday as the robotic equipment was introduced to visitors, doctors and staff at Tennova Healthcare. From left are State Rep. Kevin Brooks, Tennova CEO Coleman Foss, Dr. Del Ashcraft, Dr. Joshua Worthington, Dr. Jason Dunn and Dr. Chris Mullin. Dunn is completing his training on the Da Vinci robot, and will be able to perform surgery in August.

State Rep. Kevin Brooks, got a first-hand look at the Da Vinci robot that will be used at Tennova Healthcare for surgeries. With Brooks is Dr. Chris Mullin, who has performed many robotic surgeries in the past.

Tennova Healthcare now has the capability to perform robotic surgery, but it does not mean that robots perform those operations.

Doctors are still be in control of the surgeries. Robotics allow them a better, less intrusive, way to perform those surgeries for specific ailments.

The physicians who are trained in robotic surgery, along with Tennova representatives, showed the machinery used at the hospital. In fact, there have already been 18 surgeries utilizing the robotic method since in was installed at the hospital.

“Probably seven or eight years ago, Dr. (Chris) Mullin and Dr. (Ed) McIntire came to me and said that we are losing some patients to Nashville where they are using these Da Vinci robots,” explained Tennova CEO Coleman Foss. “They said that it is something we need to invest in.” Foss said that he and a group of doctors “went on a field trip” to watch robotic surgeries.

Mullin, of Life Circle Woman’s Healthcare, had previously used robotic surgery at Tennova in Turkey Creek, in the Farragut area just outside Knoxville. He said it is a progression in the medical field, and he is pleased to see that the local hospital has purchased the robot to do these surgeries.

Dr. Del Ashcraft, an OB/GYN physician with Ocoee OB/GYN, had also used robotic surgery in his practice. All three of these doctors, along with Dr. Joshua Worthington of Surgical Associates of Cleveland, were present Monday as the new type of surgery was introduced.

“We see this as the next evolutionary step for the hospital, and it puts us right up there technically with all the other hospitals in the area,” Foss said. “We have had it here about a month, and we are very excited about it.”

Mullin said he feels the hospital has moved into a new way to help patients.
“I have been here for the past 20 years, and I can honestly say that the things we do here, we do well,” he said. “This is another procedure that we are going to do well.”

Mullin said the biggest difference between robotic surgery and normal surgery is that the robot lets the physician see the area where the surgery will be performed in 3-D.

“It gives you the opportunity to do surgeries that we used to do laparoscopically without having to make a large incision,” Mullins stressed.

The robotic surgeon will be utilizing a machine to operate different types of surgical tools. The doctor will be in the room, though he or she will be operating these surgical tools through the robot.

“It is just an amazing piece of technology,” he said.

McIntire, of the Tennessee Valley Urology Center, said when people hear the term “robotic” it could cause a misconception that the doctor isn’t even with the patient, but that “a button is pressed for certain surgeries,” and then performed by the machine, as in a scene from a science fiction film.

“That is not correct,” he said. “The doctor will be in the room with the patient, as will others who normally work a surgery.”

“It’s not like CP3O is doing this surgery,” Mullin added.

McIntire said that the surgeons in Cleveland have been trained in robotic surgery, and the physicians’ offices began recruiting doctors skilled in using the robot. He said that one of those physicians who will be coming to Cleveland was actually performing a gallbladder operation Monday, and he has 20 robotic surgeries scheduled for the next 15 days.

The doctors said using the robot not only allows for less, if any, incisions to the patient, but also helps them get back to normal life as soon as possible.

He said that the robotic surgery for a prostate operation will now allow the patient to be healed about a week quicker than normal surgery.

“The whole purpose of the technology is you can make a difference in the patient’s pain, complications and recovery time,” Worthington said. “Like the others have said, we do surgeries well here in Cleveland and this is another tool to help us even more.”

Ashcraft said that cost is not a problem with anyone having this type of surgery. “The insurance companies don’t care if we use the robots, or a sledgehammer, as long as the job is done,” he remarked.

He said that the 18 surgeries performed in the past month needs to be per week, and he expects that will occur in the near future. Robotic surgeries at Tennova are set for Thursdays, though they can be performed any day of the week.

“We are thrilled to offer this to the public and feel it will make us an even better hospital,” Foss added.

'Miracle Baby' brings life full circle for family

by Kate Belz, Times Free Press

Eight pounds of hope.

It doesn't seem like much when measured against 200-mph winds that ravaged the South, smashing buildings to shards and claiming more than 300 lives.

But it's enough for Heather Wilcox.

The little bundle cradled in the crook of her scarred arm doesn't make her forget the day the tornado ripped away her mother's life and her family's home. But it reminds her that, in the midst of total loss, tender new life still grows.

By all accounts, Canaan Heath Wilcox shouldn't have survived what happened to his 19-year-old mother, who was just three months pregnant with him on April 27. Doctors were blunt when she was brought to the hospital, her back broken when the winds exploded her family's trailer and slung her 60 feet into a field.

"I can't guarantee you that, when you wake up, your baby will be here," Dr. William Oros told Heather as she was prepped for surgery.

To reach her spine, doctors were going to have to operate within inches of the tiny, fragile body of the baby inside of her.

During the all-day surgery, Heather's husband, Blake, paced in a crowded waiting room at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. His face was still bloody and bruised from where the tornado that wrecked their trailer had hurled him into the ground.

Every five minutes he would be at the nurse's station, asking, "Can you please, please give me an update on my wife and baby?"

As soon as he found out she was out of surgery, he sprinted up 10 flights of stairs to meet her in the recovery room.

When Heather woke up, doctors performed an ultrasound. She was still groggy from the anesthesia, but on the grainy screen she spotted the lemon-sized figure. And he was moving.

"He was just bouncing around and being his little playful self. It was amazing," she remembers as she looks down at the week-old baby boy sleeping in her arms. She smiles at him and starts to cry softly.

"Even though I was heartbroken, I knew" - she pauses to curb her tears - "I knew I still had something to look forward to."

Canaan, the "miracle baby" as doctors called him, was born Oct. 13 - almost six months after his grandmother Lisa Pack's death. The Wilcoxes named him for the biblical Promised Land, the hope of a people wandering for years in the wilderness.

"It reminds us the tornado brought loss, especially the loss of Lisa," Blake said. "But it reminds us of recovery."

Pack, 43, was ecstatic about being a first-time grandmother. Three months into Heather's pregnancy, she already had decided she wanted to be called "Grana." And she already had started spoiling her grandbaby.

"Every dime she had went toward him," Blake said. "She had already bought clothes and toys."

Heather and Blake lived with Pack and Heather's little sister Sarah in a mobile home off Leadmine Valley Road in Cleveland, Tenn. The night of April 26 they set up the baby's crib.

The next morning people started talking about tornadoes in the forecast. Pack came home early from work at the Rite Aid on Spring Place about 7 p.m. to a home without power and water. She was rinsing herself off with a bottle of water in the kitchen when the family heard screaming in the yard.

They looked out the door and saw relatives running through the field, trying to reach shelter, a ditch, anything to escape the giant funnel cloud swiftly bearing down on the property.

The family ran to Pack's bedroom and curled up on the floor, struggling to pull her king-sized mattress over their bodies.

"Y'all get down and stay down till I tell you to get up," Pack ordered the teens.

The words had just left her mouth when the trailer exploded.

Heather woke up tangled in a fallen tree, her right forearm split open. She couldn't get up, but she looked around and saw her family had been carried with her.

Sarah was screaming in pain. Blake was getting to his feet and limping over to them. And at her feet Heather spotted her mother under the trunk of the same tree. She wasn't moving.

The whirlwind only continued for the Wilcox family. There were more visits to doctors, then Pack's visitation and her funeral. Heather and Blake had to figure out where to stay. They made trips to Leadmine Valley Road to see what they could pull from the rubble.

Along with most of their possessions, the twister destroyed the crib and everything else Pack had brought home for her grandbaby.

As neighbors and churches found out about the couple's plight, they rallied to furnish a new nursery. The Salvation Army hosted a baby shower. Friends, family and strangers from all over the area helped buy them a new crib, new clothes and a new stockpile of diapers.

One of the women who lived down the road from their old home came and gave her two sets of bibs and burp cloths.

"Your mom asked me to make these for you two months ago," she told Heather.

The couple lived with relatives for several months until August, when they moved into a tiny apartment in Cleveland, 15 minutes from where Blake works at the Duracell battery manufacturing plant.

And the baby kept growing.

"In spite of everything that happened to her, the pregnancy went very well," said Heather's obstetrician, Dr. Lacy Windham. "She really impressed us all. With everything she went through, she was so sweet, and so focused on the pregnancy."

Because doctors were worried about how Heather's spine injuries might affect her labor, doctors scheduled a C-section for Oct. 24.

But Canaan couldn't wait for that. Almost two weeks ahead of schedule, Heather went into labor and delivered an 8-pound, 20-inch-long, perfectly healthy baby boy.

In many ways, Heather is just now starting to mourn her mother.

"During the pregnancy, I was so worried about putting stress on [Canaan] and what he had already been through, I just kind of held it all together," she says. "Because he's here now, I think about my Mom not being here all the time. It's like a fresh wound."

In her lap, Canaan interrupts, cooing and grunting. She laughs.

"But it's hard to be sad with him." she said. "Even though Mom's not here, she wouldn't want us to dwell on the heartbreaks. She'd want us to enjoy him and what we have now."

Heather tries to follow the instructions her mother gave her during the first weeks of her pregnancy. She always makes sure Canaan has fresh undershirts and socks; that's something her mother insisted on.

She tries to keep their little apartment clean and cozy, as her mother would have.

She thinks about the ways she wants to be a mother like her own.

"My Mom was never really emotional, but if you needed to talk to her she was always there," Heather said. "I want to be that for him. I want him to know that he can come to me regardless of what it is. Because I'm going to love him no matter what."

They have already started talking to Canaan about his Grana.

One family friend made a small wooden box, decorated with stickers that spell "Canaan Love Grana" on the top. Inside, Heather has put small ribbons and keepsakes from the baby shower. They keep a framed picture of Pack close by.

"I know she would have been an awesome grandma," says Blake. "She would be with us through all of it, and he would definitely be Grana's baby."

Heather turns toward Canaan, who is tucked in his crib under a warm fleece blanket.

"Even though you will never get to meet Grana, she loves you," Heather says. "She watches over you. She would do anything in the world for you."

Monday-Thursday 8AM-5PM
Friday 8AM-12:30PM

Childbirth Series Tuesdays
2nd Saturday each month

Breastfeeding Support Group
2nd Saturday each month

Life Circle Women’s Healthcare
2301 North Ocoee Street
Cleveland, TN 37311
Phone: 423-339-1400
Fax: 423-339-9950

Dec. 20, 2017 - LifeCircle Women's Healthcare would like to welcome Jasmin Garcia to our staff as our Spanish interpreter. She will be available to all our patients who are in need of interpreting services. Call our office at 339-1400 to schedule your appointment today.

Oct. 10, 2017 - LifeCircle Women's Healthcare is excited to announce that we will begin seeing patients at Cambridge Square in Ooltewah Tennessee in November! Our main Cleveland office will operate as normal. Call our office at (423) 339-1400 to schedule your appointment in Ooltewah or Cleveland!

Our International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Christine Sneed IBCLC, RLC, CLE and her first patient of the day. Christine is available to our patients to help with all aspects of breastfeeding. Here she is checking this little ones latch. Call our office at 339-1400 to schedule your appointment with her!