Mary and Wayne Hall

Couple Now Walks Ocean City's Boardwalk with Ease After Undergoing Bariatric Surgery with Dr. Mark Kligman

SUMMARY: Since meeting at the age of 15, Mary and Wayne Hall have done everything together, including spend time in Ocean City, MD walking along its famous boardwalk. However, when the walk started leaving them tired and breathless, they knew they wanted to make a change. After being referred to Dr. Mark Kligman by their primary care physician and attending one of his weight loss surgery seminars, both were eager to undergo Bariatric surgery and change their lives for the better. Read more about their experience below.

"He's not a salesman. He isn't trying to sell you anything. He isn't sugar-coating anything either. He's upfront and honest about everything." That's how we would describe Dr. Mark Kligman, assistant professor of Surgery, Head of Bariatric Surgery, and the Director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

We are Wayne and Mary Hall, and we are thrilled to share our story about our involvement in the Bariatric Program and our care under the direction of Dr. Kligman.

Both of us have been overweight for quite some time. We are "beach bums" and love going down to Ocean City. One of our favorite activities is to walk or ride up and down the boardwalk. While this is something that we both really enjoy doing, it became increasing difficult for us to walk the lengthy boardwalk without getting too tired and winded -- especially Wayne, due to his heart condition.

Wayne was under the care of a cardiologist who thought that weight loss surgery would be a good option. He referred Wayne back to our primary care physician, who also felt that both of us were good candidates for this type of procedure. Our primary care physician told us that we should seek out someone who did a lot of these surgeries, someone for whom these surgeries were the primary focus of his/her practice. Our primary care physician told us that he would be in touch with the name of doctor for us to contact.

We went home, searched the Internet, and came across Dr. Kligman at the University of Maryland Medical Center. We were impressed with the content on the Web site as well as the number of procedures he had already done. We felt he should be the first bariatric surgeon we contacted. We contacted our PCP to tell him that we found that the surgeon that we wanted to see, and the funny thing is that Dr. Kligman was the same surgeon our PCP wanted to send us to. We felt very comfortable in our decision to see Dr. Kligman. We registered for and attended his seminar in Spring 2007, and what an amazing seminar it was.

While he came dressed professionally and looked like a doctor, he talked like he was a "regular person." He made the material easy to understand while telling the truth. He could have told us only the great things about Bariatric surgery, but he was honest and told the entire group at the seminar what the potential risks or complications went with this type of procedure. He painted a realistic picture for us. He was honest that his program was centered on teamwork and commitment -- he had a team in his office that was very involved in the entire program and process and that for us, as patients, to be successful, we had to make to make a commitment to our own care.

We were impressed that Dr. Kligman was serious about this, and that he stated that he required his patients to sign a contract. The seminar was a clincher for us -- while this program was not going to be easy, we knew that we had found the right surgeon and program that would help us achieve our goals. We knew it would be over an hour drive to UMMC to see Dr. Kligman and to have all of the necessary tests done; however, we knew that it would be worth it given how comfortable we felt after attending the seminar.

We made our initial visit with Dr. Kligman, and everyone involved in the program was extremely helpful, encouraging and capable of handling all of our issues and problems. They worked together like a well-oiled machine. Regardless of what the issue had to do with -- an insurance problem, scheduling or moving an appointment, or a nutritional concern -- the staff was always willing to go the extra mile to get things resolved. They were easy to get in touch with, and if you had to leave a voicemail, they were prompt in returning your call.

We attended the support group that the program offered. It was extremely helpful, encouraging, and allowed us to continue our journey in the right frame of mind as we were learning from others who were also in the program. There were requirements and testing that had to be completed leading up to the surgery, but we were prepared for all of this because it had been discussed at the seminar. We were not stressed over any delay in getting into the operating room.

For me, Mary, my heaviest weight was 259 pounds. On the date of my surgery, February 21, 2008, I weighed 248 pounds. Prior to the surgery, during an office visit, Dr. Kligman discussed that he was going to start the procedure laparoscopically, but that there was a chance that he might have to convert to an open procedure due to a prior colon surgery I had years ago. This previous surgery, Dr. Kligman said, could cause an issue with the entire procedure being done laparoscopically. Again, he was honest and kept us aware of what could happen while we were in the OR. Dr. Kligman got through a good bit of the procedure laparoscopically, but eventually needed to convert to an open procedure. Because of the open conversion, I was in the hospital for three days.

The nursing staff was wonderful and always willing to help, especially when it came time for my daily walks, which were required by Dr. Kligman. And Dr. Kligman was there every morning (bright and early I might add) to check on me, making sure that I was comfortable and starting my commitment to my own health.

For me, Wayne, I was 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and 284.7 pounds on the day of my initial visit with Dr. Kligman. On the day of my surgery, July 17, 2008, I was 258 pounds. I had lost nearly 30 pounds through my work with Mary Beth Sodus, L/D R/D, the program's dietician. After discussions with Dr. Kligman, as well as his review of my cardiology notes, it was decided that the best surgery for me was the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Although I was only in the hospital for a little over a day, I would agree with my wife in terms of the amazing care that I received from the nursing staff assigned to my care. And yes, I also got to see Dr. Kligman very bright and early in the morning.

After a few office visits with Dr. Kligman, we can say that everything he discussed at the seminar is exactly what has happened. He and his staff are focused on ensuring patient care, compliant follow-up, and commitment to the program. We continue to utilize the staff for questions and encouragement; we also attend the support groups as much as we can to continue gaining encouragement as well as offering our encouragement to other patients in the program. If asked, we would say that the greatest strengths of the program at UMMC are Dr. Kligman and his staff. You cannot have one without the other. There has to be a great combination of staff and surgeon in order to have a program that is designed to see patients have great success.

I, Mary, am now almost 18 months post-op and I have lost about 125 pounds thus far. I, Wayne, am now 13 months post-op and I have lost 50 pounds thus far since the day of surgery, and 80 pounds overall since my initial visit with Dr. Kligman and his team. We are both committed to continuing our journey towards improving our quality of life together. We have been doing things together since we first met when we were 15 years old. We started this weight loss journey together, and we are going to continue it together. We are thrilled that, this summer, we were able to walk the Ocean City boardwalk without getting winded and tired. We look forward to many other milestones and accomplishments, and we are thankful for the opportunity to be involved in the program at UMMC with Dr. Kligman and his staff.

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This page was last updated: July 15, 2013

         
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