New surgeon offers cutting edge care at Sioux Valley Vermillion

New surgeon offers cutting edge care at Sioux Valley Vermillion
Fernando Escobar knew his career path would eventually lead him to study medicine and become a practicing physician.

Thankfully for Vermil- lion, he chose to continue his training over the years. Today, he specializes in general surgery, and this month, he decided to begin utilizing that training at the Sioux Valley Vermillion Clinic.

Escobar was born and lived for five years in El Salvador. When he was 5 years old, his family moved to Honduras, where he attended elementary, high school and college.

He was encouraged to seek a career in medicine simply by watching his mother while growing up in Olanchieo, Honduras. He is, in a way, following in her footsteps.

"My mother was the only health care giver in a very remote area of Honduras," Dr. Escobar said. "She was a registered nurse, but be- cause there were no doctors in the city where I grew up, she was actually the doctor of the town.

"I grew up seeing her perform medical procedures, and seeing patients," he said. "She was my inspiration."

There was no organized medical system in Hon- duras at the time. A physician's care wasn't available for the residents of the country's small rural villages.

"My mother would do everything � she would deliver babies, suture major wounds � she was a country doctor without the M.D. degree," Dr. Escobar said.

In the mid-1960s, Dr. Escobar attended medical school at the University of Yucatan, Mexico. He graduated in 1974. He practiced general medicine for four years in Mexico, and in 1979, began his specialized medical training in the United States.

He completed his general surgery residency at Fair- view General Hospital in Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Escobar's work experience includes 17 years in the field of general surgery in the U.S. Air Force. He is certified with the American Board of Surgery.

He realized he wanted to specialize in surgery after completing an internship in Washington, DC.

He brings to Vermillion a higher level of medical care. Local residents who need thyroid or abdominal surgery, and pregnant women in need of C-sections, for example, won't have to leave the community. He also has the ability to offer gastro-intestinal endoscopy procedures.

Dr. Escobar is no stranger to South Dakota. He practiced medicine in Armour after leaving the U.S. Air Force, beginning in 2002.

"When I came to Armour, I came with intentions to do everything � both general practice and my specialty," he said. In recent years, however, that community offered fewer and fewer surgical opportunities.

"I became more involved with general practice than with general surgery, and I decided to move to a place that welcomed my practice as a surgeon," Dr. Escobar said.

He's glad he made the move to Vermillion. In only their first week here, he and his fianc�e, Carol Knodel, have been welcomed by the community.

"The workplace, to me, is amazing," Dr. Escobar said. "I'm very happy to work with Sioux Valley.

"And I want to utilize my speciality," he said. "I'm impressed with the competence of everybody here at the Vermillion hospital."

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