Written by Staci Guy
Michael Mann, MD moved to Artesia in late 2019 from Oklahoma and brings with him more than 31 years of experience as a physician and general surgeon. Executives at Artesia General Hospital quickly realized what a perfect fit he would be, not only for the hospital, but for the community as a whole. “I grew up in a small town, and I really like the small-town atmosphere,” he said. “I enjoy going to ball games and fairs, shooting the breeze after church…all those things.”
If there’s one thing Dr. Mann’s three decades in medicine have taught him, it’s that healthy outcomes can best be attained by coordinated efforts between the patient, doctor, and the entire medical team. Having a bedside manner that includes listening to patients, explaining all aspects of their care and answering questions is tremendously important in that regard.
Growing up, Mann knew at a young age that he wanted to go into medicine. After high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force. After four years, with the help of the GI Bill he was able to attend the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a BS in Physics. Following undergrad, he was accepted into USUHS, the military medical school for the United States, which offered him tremendous medical education with experiences throughout the US and Europe. During a surgery rotation in his third year of medical school, Mann realized how much he enjoyed dealing with patients in a way he could “fix things,” with his hands. So, with that realization and the guidance of a mentor, he set his sights on General Surgery.
Dr. Mann’s 25-year Air Force career enabled him to travel extensively and experience diverse clinical situations – in peacetime as well as wartime, while treating military members, their families, and retirees. It also meant he was able to direct the majority of his focus on patient care. “I got to take care of people and not have to worry about if they were going to pay their bills,” he explained. He said he liked getting to take care of patients based solely on what was needed, nothing more and nothing less.
Other than his small-town roots, the fact that Dr. Mann places such a high priority on patient care bodes well for his new role at Artesia General Hospital. “I am really interested in their well-being; I do care about patients and I want them to know that.” He said that while surgeons tend to have a reputation of being “fairly abrupt,” his experience taught him the importance of bedside manner. His MO is fairly simple — “I like to spend a lot of time talking to patients and listening to them. “
If the patient is nervous about an upcoming procedure, he takes the time to explain the condition in depth and then discusses options for taking care of that condition. “A lot of times I’ll talk about my record so far,” he said. He explains the surgical risks, benefits and his experience to help the patient get a full understanding, and to build the patient’s trust. Finally, Dr. Mann emphasizes the importance of the patient’s spiritual and emotional well-being.
Even with more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Mann never stops learning. “I read like crazy,” he said. “I go to conferences whenever I can and I watch training videos. I also keep up with [medical] journals to see if there’s any way I can improve my practice; I have discussions with colleagues…It’s very important to stay current in medicine.”
Take laparoscopic surgery, for instance. Doctors used to have to cut a person open to do gallbladder surgery, leaving a big scar and painful recovery. But thanks to advances in technology and medicine, Dr. Mann said the same patient today will have smaller incisions, a quicker recovery, a shorter hospital stay, less pain and therefore less narcotic use. Better outcomes like these are the reasons doctors like Mann must never stop learning.
While having information about Dr. Mann and his experience and bedside manner is nice, it’s not very useful if patients are not comfortable in having surgery at a time like this, when a pandemic is sweeping the nation. Dr. Mann is quick to note that Artesia General Hospital is taking COVID-19 very seriously and patients should feel safe in electing to have surgery there.
“The Chief of Surgery [has] gone above and beyond to make sure everyone is safe,” he emphasized. “We have implemented testing, cleaning, and PPE protocols to make certain our patients are abundantly protected.”
For more information regarding the hospital’s approach to handling COVID-19, visit artesiageneral.com/covid19.
Overall, Dr. Mann said he is happy to be in Artesia, looking forward to helping people and getting to know them. He wants potential new patients to rest assured that in him they will find a caring, attentive surgeon that will put their needs first and give them the time and care they need.