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A Day in the Life: Surgical Technologist Wandra Wise

Lexington Medical Center employees are some of the finest health care professionals in the nation. In this new feature on our hospital blog, we’re going to showcase them and the great jobs they do taking care of the people of our community. We call it “A Day in the Life.”

No day on the job is ever the same for Wandra Wise, surgical technologist at Lexington Medical Center.

LMC Surgical Technologist Wandra Wise

LMC Surgical Technologist Wandra Wise

“There’s nothing else I’d rather do,” she said.

Wandra has been a surgical technologist at Lexington Medical Center for 12 years. Her day begins at 6:30 a.m. in the Surgery department at the hospital. After a quick morning meeting to review the cases for the day, Wandra is assigned to an operating room where she prepares instruments for the day’s surgeries.

“We have a great group of doctors, nurses and techs,” she said. “We also do a lot of great surgeries that are always on the cutting edge. From neurology to orthopaedics to gynecology, there’s always a variety.”

Strickland_120424_104 RetouchedWandra is responsible for at least three surgeries daily. On the day we met with her, the list included removal of a neck lump, a colon removal and a laparoscopic colon resection. During the procedures, her responsibilities include holding a camera, passing instrumentation and helping with stitches.

“There’s no greater feeling than to help someone who’s been dealing with a problem for a long time – to get them here and make them feel better through surgery, and watch everything turn out right,” Wandra said. “It’s great to be able to help someone.”

A Newberry native, Wandra received her surgical technologist certification at Piedmont Tech. She is married with four children and one grandchild.

She’s a valued member of the Lexington Medical Center team.

Lexington Medical Center is hiring more certified surgical technologists! Apply online at LexMed.com/Careers

A Day in the Life: Surgical Technologist Lenae Scott

Lexington Medical Center employees are some of the finest health care professionals in the nation. In this new feature on our hospital blog, we’re going to showcase them and the great jobs they do taking care of the people of our community. We call it “A Day in the Life.”

Lenae Scott’s workday begins while many of us are still sleeping.

As a surgical technologist in the Surgery department at Lexington Medical Center, she arrives at work before sunrise at 6:30 a.m. Lenae plays an integral role on a top-notch surgical team that provides innovative, state-of-the-art treatments to patients each day.

LMC Surgical Technologist Lenae Scott

LMC Surgical Technologist Lenae Scott

“It’s very rewarding knowing you’re helping someone in their time of need,” Lenae said.

After a team huddle, Lenae receives her schedule of cases, usually three to four each day, and is dispatched to an operating room. On the day we visited with her, she was assigned to a hernia, carotid artery procedure, needle lumpectomy and an amputation.

surgery toolsHer responsibilities include setting up supplies for each case and ensuring all needed equipment is there, draping the patients, putting a gown and gloves on the doctor, passing instrumentation during the procedure and holding equipment including cameras or suction tools.

She’s happy to work at Lexington Medical Center, noting there’s a family-style atmosphere, coupled with outstanding facilities.

“The Surgery department here has so much space and the technology is state-of-the-art,” Lenae said. “Lexington Medical Center also has great benefits including state retirement and wonderful insurance.”

LSA_Harmon_Surgery_3The Surgery department inside the hospital has 23 operating rooms with at least two surgical technologists per case. The team embraces a culture of safety, collaboration, passion and respect.

Lenae, who is a Lexington native, decided to enter the surgical technologist field when she was still in high school.

“I was always interested in medicine. I’m also a very hands-on person, so I liked the idea of working with instruments and helping patients.”

She received her degree at Midlands Technical College. Today, she lives in West Columbia with her husband Kevin and 16-month-old daughter.

Her work day usually ends around 3:00 p.m. Lexington Medical Center is the only place she has worked as a surgical technologist, and she adds she never wants to leave.

Lexington Medical Center is hiring more certified surgical technologists! Apply online at LexMed.com/Careers

Welcome Heart Surgeon Deyanira “Dee” Prastein, MD

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce that Dr. Deyanira “Dee” Prastein has joined the hospital’s network of care as a heart surgeon. She joins Dr. Jeffrey Travis at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, to provide comprehensive cardiovascular care that meets the needs of our community. She is the first female heart surgeon in the Midlands.

Prastein_Labcoat_Standing_ORDr. Prastein has world-class training in cardiothoracic surgery, studying inside some of the most prestigious heart programs in the world. Her intensive work includes experience with the most state-of-the-art procedures available today.

Prior to joining Lexington Medical Center, Dr. Prastein was the lead cardiothoracic surgeon at Duke Regional Hospital in Durham, N.C. A graduate of the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Prastein completed a general surgery residency at the University of Maryland and cardiothoracic surgery training at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

During her residency, she participated in extensive research on heart failure. She then worked at Papworth Hospital in England, a facility famous for being one of the first in Europe to perform heart transplants.

Dr. Prastein compares open heart surgery to an orchestra playing music.

“All of the players in the operating room have different roles and everything has to come together,” she said. “It’s paced so that things happen at the right time and tempo. Everyone knows the steps and what time to do certain things, and the timing matters.”

Dr. "Dee" Prastein and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery inside Lexington Medical Center's open heart surgery suite.

Dr. “Dee” Prastein and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery inside Lexington Medical Center’s open heart surgery suite.

Dr. Prastein decided that she wanted to be a heart surgeon while in medical school.

“I thought that cardiothoracic surgery was the most amazing thing you could do as a surgeon and doctor,” she said. “Our brain makes us human and the person you are, but none of that matters if you don’t have a working heart.”

Lexington Medical Center’s heart program is affiliated with Duke Medicine. Dr. Prastein learned about the hospital while working there. And she was impressed.

“Lexington Medical Center is very passionate about and dedicated to making its heart program succeed.”

She also liked that Lexington Medical Center has made efforts to make sure they have the best cardiologists and surgeons available, and supporting staff to provide top-notch care.

“I love what Lexington Medical Center has created. My goal is to make the hospital’s heart program grow and thrive. There’s a lot of goodwill and passion for treating patients with heart disease, and I want to make sure I’m part of that success.”

She understands that heart surgery is a scary proposition for patients and their families. So, she works to put them at ease.

“Right before surgery, I talk to my patients, hold their hand, look into their eyes and tell them, ‘I’m going to take good care of you.’”

She knows that heart surgery will improve their quality of life and help them to live longer.

Working as a doctor has been a dream of Dr. Prastein since childhood. She was born in Nicaragua and lived there until she was 10, when war led her family to move.

“When we lived in Nicaragua and the war started, I wanted to help people,” she said. “In my eyes, there were only two people you could run to for help – priests and doctors.

Obviously, I couldn’t be a priest, so I wanted to be a doctor.”

Dr. Prastein settled in Fairfax, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C., with her parents and brothers. Her mother and father, a civil engineer, sent her to college at George Mason University, where she graduated with a degree in chemistry.

There, she met her husband, Jonathan. They’ve been married for nearly 20 years and have a son named Jascha, who will be two years old in March. In her spare time, Dr. Prastein enjoys spending time with Jonathan and Jascha, and running. She has completed five marathons.

“I am proof that you can do anything with hard work. I am truly living the American dream.”