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Making Time for More Golfing: - General Surgeon Kurt Hofmann Retires

General Surgeon Kurt Hofmann Retires
TOKEN OF ESTEEM — Dr. Kurt Hofmann was presented with a commemorative silver tray in recognition of his 22 years of service to Meadows and the community. From left are, Mid McCain and Matt Hasbrouck, who presented the tray, and Dr. Hofmann.Photo by Deborah Clark
General Surgeon Kurt Hofmann Retires
TOKEN OF ESTEEM — Dr. Kurt Hofmann was presented with a commemorative silver tray in recognition of his 22 years of service to Meadows and the community. From left are, Mid McCain and Matt Hasbrouck, who presented the tray, and Dr. Hofmann.Photo by Deborah Clark

Making Time for More Golfing:

After 32 years as a gen- eral surgeon, Dr. Kurt P. Hofmann is stepping away from the operating room to enjoy well-earned time with his family — and as many rounds of golf as his heart desires.

Dr. Hofmann was hon ored recently at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital in Vidalia at a farewell “partee”— a twist on the word “party” in homage to his favorite leisure activity.

The surgeon has spent the last 22 years on the staff at Meadows, where he has worked with scores of medical and administrative personnel, and has cared for countless patients from throughout the South Georgia region served by Meadows. A large representation of those whose lives Dr. Hofmann im pacted through the years were in attendance at the March 27 farewell party, and some of them offered comments on what is was like knowing and working with a man who has become somewhat of an icon at Meadows.

MaG Hasbrouck, CEO at Meadows, praised Dr. Hofmann's dedication to both the hospital and the community over the past 22 years. He shared that Dr. Hofmann might like to project a gruff image, as is sometimes associated with a highly-focused general surgeon, but he is, in fact, very approachable, loved, and respected. "He has taught me a lot about grace and resilience," Hasbrouck said, noting that Dr. Hof mann will remain on staff for the near future in an advisory capacity “to help us from time to time.”

Among the hallmarks of Dr. Hofmann's personal ity are his disdain for neckties and his fondness for flashy socks, as well as his prowess as a golfer. Mid McCain, Director of Physician Services, said he once played golf with the leg- endary Dr. Hofmann, and was “lucky to leave with the shirt on my back.”

McCain said he has been at Meadows for seven years, and when he first ar- rived, Dr. Hofmann took him under his wing to ad- vise him. "He wanted to make sure I had the right focus from the physician’s viewpoint." He added, "In thinking about Dr. Hof mann, I considered his leadership, administration, community involvement, and his impact on human life. He has been so instru mental in all of our lives, and there is a caring touch in everything he does.”

When Dr. Hofmann took the microphone at his farewell event, he reminisced about his tenure at Meadows and as a resident of Toombs County, “Twenty-two years is more than one-third of my life. It is the longest I have lived anywhere and it is a credit to the community." He re flected, “It is important to say this is an excellent hospital and medical staff. My grandchildren were born here, I have had two knee replacements at Meadows, and I had my first, second, and third kidney stones here." He noted that the caliber of the hospital and community “are the reason we stuck around. Now, we are hard-core Bulldogs fans.” In a parting shot, he quipped, “I do think y’all will be in good hands with the guys (surgeons) who are left even though they are millennials.”

Dr. Hofmann, a native of New York City, grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia where his parents moved when he was five. He and his wife, Dr. Karen McColl, were students at the same high school in Warminster, Pennsylvania, and attended senior prom on their first date in 1978. The couple has been a duo for 46 years, and has been married for 38 years.

Dr. Hofmann does not recall a pivotal moment that compelled his decision to pursue a medical career. He just enjoyed school, especially science, and declared to his counselors that he wanted to study medicine. He excelled in his studies at Dartmouth and Jefferson Medical College, and after graduation, served his internship and residency in general surgery at Graduate Hos – pital in Philadelphia. His residency continued at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, and he was a research fellow in surgical oncology at the Harrison Department of Surgical Research, Hospital of the

University of Pennsylvania.

After working at Penn- sylvania Hospital in Phila – delphia, Dr. Hofmann joined the medical staffs at St. Mary's Hospital in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where he was Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery. That was about the time he was looking into moving his practice, but he could not have imagined he would be relocating in South Georgia. Through a series of events, he received a fateful phone call from Howard Holman, an administrator at Meadows Hospital in Vi –

dalia. Holman was recruit ing for Meadows and was very persuasive. "He was a hard man to turn down,” Dr. Hofmann recalled. “We came here in 2002 and liked what we saw,” the doctor recalled. Over the years, Dr. Hofmann has witnessed a tremendous amount of change in both Meadows and the community, which grew stronger together.

He joined Meadows Hospital when it was in its former location in what is now the Lucy Pierson medical complex on Meadows Lane. “For two weeks, I was the only surgeon,” he said. He was soon joined by two other surgeons. “In 2005, we were pushing for oncology,” but there was only one cardiologist in Vidalia at that time. In a few short years, a new hospital was built, as well as a cancer treatment center, a cardiac care center with catheterization lab, a maternity care center, and a level 3 emergency department. Now, Meadows is a thriving, regional medical center with ties to sister HCA facilities including Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah.

With Dr. Hofmann, Meadows has recently had a team of four surgeons: Dr. Henry Ferland and Dr. Kendrix Evans, who came on board in 2019, and Dr. Michael Kennedy, who ar rived in 2023. “They are a little on the young side,” Dr Hofmann quipped. "I am just kidding. They are very good." Dr. Hofmann has advocated in recent years for adding new generation surgeons who can define the future of general surgery at Meadows. With the application of robotic surgery, they are doing just that.

Looking back on his career, Dr. Hofmann admit ted that when he started his journey toward becoming a general surgeon, he did not have a clue what it was like to be a doctor. “I had no problem working hard. Although we were very busy during my internship and residency at the hospital in Philadelphia, I never felt I could not do that. But 100to 120-hour work weeks were guaranteed. That is what you did as a resident; you actually lived in the hospital.”

He chose general sur gery because he liked the instant gratification of fixing problems. “But the downside is some things you cannot fix, and that hurts,” he said, adding, “There are few feelings better than a patient being truly grateful that you helped them get better. I have performed probably over a 1,000 gall bladder operations, and preventative procedures like endoscopies and colonoscopies. Prevention is great, but there is nothing better than hearing a patient say they are doing better.”

Dr. Hofmann chuck les about the reputation attached to general surgeons and their “superior” demeanors. “Few surgeons don’t have a significant ego,” he avowed, adding, “I felt I was a bit of a mentor with some doctors; I was there to answer questions if they asked them.”

What will he miss most? “I will miss the people, but I won’t miss being awakened at night for emergencies when I knew I still had a full day ahead of me after the emergency,” Dr. Hofmann observed.

The next chapter of Dr. Hofmann's life will allow more family time. His wife, Dr. Karen McColl, is still working at Meadows as Chief Medical Officer. “Everyone says that she is the nice one,” he joked. Obviously, medicine runs in the family’s veins because all of the Hofmann children have pursed careers in that -eld. (e Hofmann's son, Patrick Hofmann, works in electronic medical billing and records in Colorado; their daughter Katherine (Katie) Collins, is a nurse practitioner married to Alex Collins, and has two children, Wesley, 5, and Charlotte, 3; and Margaret (Maggie) Brown, is a family therapist. Maggie and her husband, Ryan, just welcomed a new daughter, Molly.

After family, add leisure activities like a few home improvement projects and a lot of golfing, the picture is perfect. But no one really expects that Dr. Hofmann won't be seen again in the halls at Meadows. It’s hard to break a 22year habit.

HOFMANN FAMILY — Among those gathering for a farewell party at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital for Dr. Kurt Hofmann, shown far right, on March 27 were, from top left: grandson Wesley Collins; son-in-law Alex Collins; granddaughter Charlotte Collins; daughter Katie Collins; daughter Maggie Brown; and wife, Dr. Karen McColl.Photo by Deborah Clark

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