Text of Commendatory Letter about Dr. Pomerenke
Tom Davis, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
PO Box 7021
Colorado Springs, CO 80933
Dear Dr. Davis,
I am writing to commend you on one of your outstanding surgeons, Dr. Laura Pomerenke. I am a
46-year-old woman who has had numerous dealings with the medical community over the years, and I can
easily say that my experiences with Dr. Pomerenke have far surpassed any others.
I recently had to have an abdominal incisional hernia repair because of complications from a
post-operative wound infection after a TAHBSO two years ago. The original hysterectomy surgery was
performed by an OB/GYN who no longer even practices in California and during the 16-week recuperative
ordeal, I was passed around among three of his associates, followed by three surgeons who eventually
had to take over to finally get the infection under control and the wound to heal.
This spring when I realized I had the sizeable hernia that the main follow-up surgeon predicted,
I consulted him for the inevitable surgery. In a less-than-two-minute office visit, he did not even
examine me. Instead, he dismissed me in saying that he told me it was going to happen and that I should
go away and lose some weight or the surgery would never be successful.
After that, I saw four more doctors, mostly trying to determine the severity of the hernia, the
practicability of waiting to lose weight, and whether any sort of mini-abdominoplasty or liposuction
in conjunction with the hernia surgery would lessen the chances for recurrence. All I got was
conflicting information about recurrence rates, disrespectful shaming for being overweight, and limited
explanations of anything I would ask.
So, while I was on vacation in June, my sister suggested I get a sixth opinion and we were able to
schedule an appointment with Dr. Pomerenke. From the moment she saw me, she was respectful and courteous
and very easy to talk to. She listened to all my horror stories of the previous treatment I had received
and was empathetic to my plight. She patiently answered every single question my sister and I asked (of
which there were many), being thorough in all her responses and addressing everything we wanted to know.
Furthermore, she performed a complete examination of my abdominal area, explained how large she determined
the hernia to be, discussed the bowel reducibility, and addressed other pertinent issues. She also
explained the reparation procedure, demonstrating how the mesh would be put on the inside for better
purchase, and showed us an actual piece of the material.
Years ago I had an epigastric hernioplasty and that scar is quite obvious. Dr. Pomerenke is the only
doctor to have not only noticed it, but to have also palpated that area, asked about its history, and
confirmed there were no additional weaknesses. In addition, she was the only one to even mention that
there were various approaches to the hernia. She offered the alternative of a vertical midline incision,
which would be more direct, instead of going through the hysterectomy's Pfannenstiel scar, which seemed
to be the only way anyone else considered. She was clearly extremely knowledgeable and obviously very competent.
I was so impressed with Dr. Pomerenke that without hesitation I scheduled surgery with her for mid-July.
Even though that required my having to incur the additional costs of petsitters, plane fare, and 30% of
the total medical costs because I was using a provider out of my insurance area, those amounts pale in
comparison to the confidence that came with knowing I would be under the care of a surgeon who cared about
me, who knew what she was doing, and who treated me with dignity and respect.
Please do not let this lengthy testimonial in any way make Dr. Pomerenke sound so wonderful only because
of the less-than-reputable others I have encountered. I didn't want to include so many details, but I felt
I had to in order to appropriately convey the complexities of my case and past frustrations, and highlight
the refreshing contrast. Absolutely in her own right, without comparison to anyone, Dr. Pomerenke is an
extraordinary individual and I feel fortunate to have been able to have her operate on me.
She has an absolutely engaging personality that just makes one feel appreciated and cared for. She is
genuinely interested in the emotional and physical well-being of her patients and it is clear that she is
confident and competent in her surgical skills. She is respectful and attentive and dedicated to ensuring
that there is thorough understanding and complete communication. Her compassion is sincere and her
commitment to excellence is unending.
Among other things, your website mentions "Centura managers and associates weigh a set of seven core values
each time they must make decisions. Those values are: Integrity; Spirituality; Imagination; Respect;
Quality; Compassion; and Stewardship." It also describes Centura's SHARE concept that speaks of such
ideals as Sensing people's needs before they ask, Helping each other out, Acknowledging people's feelings,
Respecting the dignity of others, and Explaining what is happening. Unlike many places where language like
this is simply public relations rhetoric, Dr. Pomerenke actually epitomizes these values. Every aspect of
her conduct serves these principles. As further indications of these is the fact that EVERY Penrose worker
to whom I mentioned how wonderful I thought Dr. Pomerenke was, from the pre-op bloodwork technicians, to the
admissions and registration personnel, to the pre-op nurses, had something fabulous to say about her as well.
Everyone added personal comments about how nice she was, how pleasant to work with she was, and what a good
choice I had made in choosing her. In fact, my anesthesiologist, Dr. Joseph Slavoski (another of your very
personable and caring physicians), volunteered that he has never seen Dr. Pomerenke frustrated, angry, or
less-than agreeable, no matter how long the surgeries or how difficult the situations, and he added "We are
lucky to have her -- someone who has that kind of personality and who is also a very skilled surgeon."
Even the way she runs her office is impressive. At every appointment she spent as much time with me as I
needed and never made me feel like she was rushing or that I was taking up too much of her time. She
extended herself to me for any questions I might have between appointments and was accessible via phone
calls with graciousness and efficiency. Not once in my four visits did I have to wait beyond the scheduled
appointment time. And for the two post-operative visits, Kelli, a polite and efficient back-office worker,
greeted me enthusiastically as I entered, and was thoughtful, considerate, and forward-thinking enough to
escort me to an exam room BEFORE I could sit (unnecessarily and painfully) in the waiting room. This same
young lady was always friendly and helpful, and assisted in faxing paperwork for me, scheduling appointments,
and insuring that all my needs were met.
Because of all that I have described herein and more that words simply cannot convey, if there is any
kind of recognition, award, or honor that you bestow upon exemplary personnel, I heartily recommend Dr. Laura
Pomerenke. Your organization is to be commended for associating with such a high-calibre individual and
you should take considerable pride in this extraordinary surgeon and the exceptional person she is.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Donna J. Leiber
Cc: Mr. Rick O'Connell, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Donna Bertram, Chief Operating Officer
Laura Pomerenke, M.D.
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