A Sip of EleganceAugust 2023
A Legacy of Caring for the CommunitySeptember 2023
In this month’s special section, Top Docs, we’ll introduce you to dedicated, local physicians who are not only masters of their craft but also compassionate listeners, empathetic healers, and champions of hope. They’ve chosen a path filled with challenges, triumphs, and moments of profound impact.
Southwest Louisiana is a hub for medical innovation, and our physicians are at the forefront of these advancements. From cutting-edge treatments to groundbreaking research, they’re rewriting the narrative of healthcare in our region. Thrive captured their commitment to improving lives, one patient at a time.
What truly sets these stories apart are the patients themselves – individuals who have faced extraordinary circumstances and emerged stronger, often with the guidance and expertise of these remarkable physicians. Each patient has a story to tell, one that serves as a testament to the spirit of our community.
Whether it’s a challenging case that pushed the boundaries of medical knowledge or a heartwarming tale of recovery against all odds, you’ll find inspiration in each. These stories remind us that healthcare is not just about treating ailments; it’s about restoring hope, rekindling resilience, and reimagining what’s possible.
Dr. Kamran Shahid (Ochsner CHRISTUS Cancer Center)
In the realm of medical oncology, where every diagnosis carries profound weight and each treatment decision can change a life, Dr. Kamran Shahid excels. For Dr. Shahid, it’s not just about administering chemotherapy; it’s about weaving compassion into every thread of care.
Dr. Shahid, specializing in medical oncology with expertise in treating all types of cancers, shares a story that is familiar for many. It’s a story that touched hearts and brought tears of joy to a grieving family.
The story begins with a 65-year-old patient who had traveled a long and painful road. He had recently lost his beloved wife. In the depths of his grief, he found himself in a role he had never anticipated, that of a sole caregiver for his 85-year-old mother. A daunting task, made even more challenging by his own health battle with cancer.
Seeking the best possible care, the patient had previously turned to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. There, he was prescribed a specific chemotherapy regimen that was not readily available in Lake Charles. This posed a significant dilemma – continue to travel to Houston for treatment, separated from his aging mother, or explore alternatives closer to home.
Enter Dr. Shahid, a physician known for his dedication to his patients’ well-being. Driven by a deep sense of compassion, he reached out to the patient’s primary oncologist in Houston, leveraging his prior affiliation to facilitate a remarkable solution. The goal was clear: to make this crucial chemotherapy available right here in Lake Charles, sparing the patient from the taxing journeys to Houston and allowing him to remain by his mother’s side.
With determination and a heart full of empathy, Dr. Shahid coordinated the intricate details of this complex endeavor. This included training the nurse practitioners at his practice, ensuring they were well-prepared to handle the infusion process and monitor for potential side effects that came with this specialized treatment.
The result? A remarkable success story that transcends medical boundaries. The patient could now spend precious time with his aging mother, providing her the comfort and care she deserved. The relief, gratitude, and sheer joy emanating from their shared moments cannot be measured, Dr. Shahid remarked. It’s the profound impact of a compassionate physician who made the impossible, possible.
Dr. Niazy Selim, MD, MBChB, MSc, PhD, FACS (Selim Surgery Center)
Imagine the anxiety of facing a daunting GI surgery, grappling with the decision, and seeking a second opinion to alleviate your doubts. This was the crossroads a patient faced when they walked into Dr. Selim’s office. Uncertain and fearful, they explored other options, even venturing to the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. However, it was Dr. Selim’s compassionate approach and expertise that ultimately won their heart. His commitment to performing the procedure laparoscopically, when others insisted on an open surgery, marked the beginning of a profound bond.
In the patient’s own words, “Dr. Selim made me comfortable when I needed it most.” This trust was the foundation upon which a life-changing surgery was built. This trust extends beyond the operating room, with the patient valuing Dr. Selim’s opinion above all else when it comes to medical decisions for their family.
But Dr. Selim’s impact doesn’t stop at the borders of our community. A case never before attempted here was conquered by Dr. Selim’s expertise. He also played a pivotal role in changing the life of a patient from Baton Rouge who had spent years unable to lay down due to a mysterious condition. She affectionately calls him her savior, a title he wears with humility.
For those who have faced the dire consequences of bariatric surgeries gone wrong, Dr. Selim is a lifeline. He has brought healing and hope to patients whose lives were hanging in the balance, showcasing his unwavering commitment to their well-being.
Dr. Niazy Selim is not just a remarkable surgeon; he is a beacon of excellence in our community. With a Medical Degree earned in Egypt in 1986, he brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to Lake Charles when he arrived in November 2015. Dr. Selim introduced advanced surgical techniques, including robotics, eliminating the need for patients to travel to distant medical hubs. Both patients and hospitals quickly realized the value of his vast experience and exceptional results.
Currently serving as the Chief of Surgery at Lake Area Christus Hospital, Dr. Selim’s dedication to his profession is further exemplified through his involvement in multiple medical committees. He tirelessly seeks to improve the quality of surgical care in our community and beyond.
Beyond his hospital endeavors, Dr. Selim is the sole owner of a multispecialty Ambulatory Surgery Center right here in Lake Charles. It’s a testament to his commitment to providing the best surgical options in Southwest Louisiana. The center boasts state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, but what truly sets it apart is the personal touch. Patients are not just numbers; they experience genuine care from a staff that goes above and beyond to guide them on their journey to recovery. In our corner of the world, where trust is cherished, Dr. Niazy Selim is a name synonymous with compassion, expertise, and unwavering dedication to the health and well-being of our community.
Dr. Richard Shimer (Lake Charles Memorial Hospital)
Dr. Richard Shimer, general surgeon, serves as the trauma medical director at Memorial Hospital, the area’s only designated Level III Trauma Center. He specializes in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, endoscopy, and trauma surgeries.
Memorial’s Trauma Center treats over 1,600 trauma patients each year, and 63% of those are considered a Level I or II, requiring extensive care. Because of the extraordinary teamwork and coordinated care of talented physicians, like Dr. Shimer, the survival rate of trauma patients treated at Memorial is 98%.
“As a trauma surgeon, I encounter the most severe injuries that come through our doors. It’s a difficult job, but one that brings me a lot of satisfaction,” says Dr. Shimer.
In his line of work, many cases have been impactful or notable, but one that comes to mind when reflecting on the toughest cases actually involves two patients. Upon arrival, one after the other, each was afflicted with life-threatening gunshot wounds.
“When it comes to trauma, time is of the essence. The goal is to get patients to definitive care within 60 minutes, or during ‘The Golden Hour of Trauma’ for the best outcomes,” explains Dr. Shimer. Fortunately, in this particular situation, both patients arrived in time to be treated within the “Golden Hour.”
The patients were both in critical condition, and Dr. Shimer was fully aware of the challenge that he, and the care team, were about to face. The possibility of death began to loom over them. Even though the situation was intensely complex, “I knew the team had what it takes to deliver the best outcome possible for these patients and their families,” recalls Dr. Shimer.
As the emergency staff rushed to assess the patients, other physicians and staff arrived. Their care involved a collaborative approach between the emergency department staff and physicians, surgeons, operating room staff, ICU (Intensive Care Unit) staff, orthopedics, neurosurgery, pulmonology, and countless other essential hospital departments.
“Both patients underwent multiple surgeries and spent a significant amount of time in the Intensive Care Unit. It was uncertain, at times, whether their injuries would be too much for their bodies to recover,” recalls Dr. Shimer.
In the end, both patients involved lived but have a hard road to recovery. Months of rehabilitation services are to follow.
“I am satisfied knowing that our team is providing a level of readiness that is unique to Memorial and ensuring the best care possible in a patient’s time of need. Because of this their families have another day with their loved ones,” recalls Dr. Shimer.