Freeman Medical Musings Blog

Keep Up With Your Health

Welcome to the Freeman Medical Musings Blog

As the leaders of healthcare in Joplin and surrounding areas, you rely on us to keep your informed and healthy. Locally Owned, Nationally Recognized means we're here for you every step of the way. 

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Most Recent Blog Posts

physical therapy

Apr 23, 2024

Why Physical Therapy is So Important to Your Recovery

Proper Therapy Can Make Life After Rehab Much Better

Movement and exercise are both fundamental to leading a healthy and happy life. Physical therapists can help – by identifying underlying movement and strength issues that can put a patient at risk for continuing to have persistent symptoms and to be at risk for developing future injuries. 

Freeman Rehabilitation Service has 80 full-time licensed rehabilitation professionals and 20 part- and full-time operational support staff achieves this by fully evaluating a person from head-to-toe to assess range of motion, flexibility, strength, movement and overall coordination. From these evaluations, they can tailor a person's exercise program and recommendations to help them in their pursuit of remaining as active as possible for a normal life experience. In total, we’ve completed more than 50,000 patient care visits at 10 locations in Joplin, Neosho, Anderson, Carthage and Pittsburg. 

The five most common injuries we regularly see are total knee replacements, rotator cuff repairs, ACL reconstructions, lower back and neck pain, and general balance and strength training.

To that end, physical therapists are focused on getting to the root of an individual's problem. Many injuries that appear to be different can be driven by similar underlying movement dysfunctions and strength imbalances. By focusing on the root of these issues, injury symptoms can begin to be resolved with more long-term success. 

We do this by working to help patients with goal setting and developing a practical course of action for reaching them. We help people to see what we are capable of and what steps they need to take to get there within the desired time frame. We encourage and provide vision for these individuals, which helps empower patients to know first that they can get better. Plus, we know the steps our patients need to take to get there. 

Physical therapists use a variety of ways to work on strengthening. These include body weight, free weight, elastic band and machine-based resistance training. 

We help a wide range of people ranging from those who suffer from traumatic- and overuse-related orthopaedic injuries, to those who go on to require surgery for various problems. We also see people who are at risk for falls due to poor balance. Some conditions we see after injuries to the neurological system includes: Post-concussion, stroke and traumatic brain injury. 

During a patient’s first visit, the patient and therapist develop a plan for helping the patient reach their set goals. Part of this initial plan is a home exercise program the therapists give the patient to work outside their scheduled visits. Follow-up visits are conducted until each patient’s goals are reached. These follow-ups are usually twice weekly or less, depending on the condition or injury or insurance. 

Overall, we are focused on quality versus quantity of visits. We are focused on hands-on interactive care that prioritizes patient engagement and empowerment. We are here for you. 

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Apr 08, 2024

A Beacon Of Hope

How the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center enriches quality of life for individuals with autism

Not long ago, Four States-area residents had woefully limited access to autism services. Since its establishment in 2007, the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center For Autism in Joplin has evolved into a renowned facility by providing comprehensive services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

The center is named for the late Bill and Virginia Leffen, who generously donated a $3 million gift to fund the reconstruction of Ozark Center for Autism, which was destroyed by the May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado. In recognition of their generosity, The Ozark Center for Autism was renamed in their honor.

Today, the center serves more than 300 clients per year through outpatient services, a year-round preschool and diagnostic evaluations by a dedicated team of professionals comprising pediatricians, psychologists and behavior analysts.  

The center’s impact is evident through the progress of its young clients, who have shown significant improvements in communication, academics and daily living skills. With a focus on early intervention and individualized care, the center aims to enhance the quality of life for individuals with autism.

Most significantly, the Leffen Center is a source of hope – to clients, their families, caregivers, loved ones and friends. Families have come to us when they thought there was little hope after receiving their diagnosis – and they leave services with hope for a bright future.

Our Day Treatment program provides a 1:1 treatment environment focused on identifying and mitigating the impact of autism on the child’s readiness for being in the classroom with their neurotypical peers. The goal is for the child to be a full participant in the educational experience of their non-autistic peers.

Future goals include the expansion outpatient services for all ages, reducing waiting lists and offering increased opportunities for parent consultations. Through initiatives like the Freeman 5K and Walk for Autism Awareness, the center raises funds to support program development and scholarships.

The center’s commitment to evidence-based practices its dedication to helping individuals with autism lead fulfilling lives. For families in Joplin and beyond, the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, the center stands as a beacon of hope and support for families navigating the challenges of autism spectrum disorders.

Freeman 5K and Walk for Autism Is April 20!

Please join us for the 2024 Freeman 5K and Walk for Autism on Saturday, April 20 at the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center For Autism. “Walk, Run and Roar” is the theme, and dinosaur-themed costumes are encouraged. Enjoy a fantastic day and support local children and families affected by autism by registering at or call 417-347-7474.

For more information on autism services, visit or call 417-347.7850.

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Mar 25, 2024

The Benefits of Volunteerism

Volunteering Can Make A Big Difference

Volunteering can make a big difference in the lives of those we serve, but did you know that volunteering can benefit your health as well? Research shows that volunteering affords significant health benefits, especially for older adults. It also fosters self-worth and strengthens personal relationships.

Boost physical and mental health. Volunteer activities keep people moving and thinking at the same time. Research has found that volunteering among adults, age 60 and over, provided benefits to physical and mental health.

 Volunteers report better physical health than non-volunteers. Research also has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially for people 65 and older. It helps minimize stress and increase positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine. By spending time in service to others, volunteers report feeling a sense of meaning and appreciation, both given and received, which can have a stress-reducing effect.

 Reduced stress further decreases the risk of some physical and mental health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety and general illness. In addition, people who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, even when controlling for age, gender and physical health.

Gain a new sense of purpose. The work that volunteers provide is essential to everyday activities, giving volunteers a sense of purpose, especially when giving their time and talent in the areas they find meaningful. Older volunteers experience greater increases in life satisfaction and self-esteem.

Nurture new and existing relationships. Volunteering increases social interaction and helps build a support system based on common interests. One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to participate in a shared activity.

In many cases, volunteers have diverse backgrounds, which helps expand their social network and allows them to practice social skills with others. People volunteer for different reasons, such as exploring careers, sharpening skills, staying active during retirement, meeting new people and serving their communities. Yet all volunteers share a common desire to improve the health and welfare of people in their communities.

How To Get Involved

 There is a wide variety of volunteer opportunities in every community, whether you're interested in youth, environmental, health, religious or community causes. Check with local nonprofit and cultural organizations, schools, faith communities, or hospitals for options.

 Or consider joining Freeman Health System’s team of volunteers and making a difference in the lives of patients and staff. For more information, call Freeman Volunteer Services Manager Danae Taylor at 417-347-4603.

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Kidney Care image

Mar 06, 2024

High-Tech Filter: The Kidneys

Learning what leads to kidney disease can be beneficial

Kidney disease is one of the fastest-growing noncommunicable diseases in the United States, according to the American Kidney Fund. Nationwide, roughly 15% of American adults – 37 million people – suffer from chronic kidney disease.

Acting chameleon-like, chronic kidney disease’s signs and symptoms go unnoticed in a vast majority of patients until a diagnosis occurs.

Many people don’t realize their chronic kidney disease is something they may already have or have been at risk for quite some time.

The kidneys are vital organs that perform a variety of key functions: they filter blood for toxins, remove the body’s excess waste and fluids and regulate blood pressure, balance important electrolytes and minerals and stimulate red blood cell production.

When our kidneys are compromised in their ability to carry out any of these tasks, the consequences can be debilitating and even life-threatening. Chronic kidney disease progresses from stage 1 to stage 5, after which point patients require kidney replacement therapy in the form of dialysis or kidney transplant. Unfortunately, many patients are at-risk progressing very quickly toward kidney failure, whereas others can maintain stable kidney function very gradually.

Disease progression, experts say, can often be slowed when patients take an active role in making permanent, healthy lifestyle changes.”

The most common causes of chronic kidney disease in Americans are diabetes and high blood pressure. Roughly 37% of the US population have either diabetes or pre-diabetes, and 45% suffer from high blood pressure. Both diseases are perpetuated by unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Making strides towards more disciplined food selections, portion control, increasing physical activity and eliminating smoking will help decrease the risk of chronic kidney disease. These healthy lifestyle choices can also slow the disease’s progression. Even small changes can make a big difference.

Always let your doctor know if you are taking additional supplements or over-the-counter medications. Be sure to take medications only as prescribed. Many medications can be affected by chronic kidney disease if the kidneys cannot process those substances due to being damaged. Likewise, some medications contribute to developing kidney disease such as antacid medications and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

People are encouraged to meet regularly with their healthcare provider to screen for risk factors for kidney disease.

At Freeman Kidney Center, highly skilled, board-certified nephrologists treat conditions such as acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, hematuria or blood in the urine, and proteinuria or excess protein in the urine. With appropriate intervention, kidney patients can work and live normal lives. For details, called 417.347.8570.

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Feb 26, 2024

Freeman Earns Highest STEMI Designation

Coveted Award Recognizes Quicker Response and Higher Quality Care

Once again, Freeman Hearts & Vascular Institute has earned the coveted Level 1 STEMI Center designation. The hospital had to demonstrate it has the providers and resources needed to treat STEMI patients, and its physicians and staff have met and will continue to demonstrate proficiency in the latest proven STEMI standards and meet strict standards of education. 

STEMI is a common name for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a serious heart attack in which one of the heart’s main arteries is blocked. 

Freeman has a door-to-balloon time of less than 55 minutes, significantly lower than the 90-minute recommendation from the American Heart Association. Door-to-balloon time is a time measurement that starts when a patient with a cardiac emergency arrives at the emergency department and ends with the inflation of a balloon inside the blocked coronary artery. Time is muscle – the more time it takes to correct the problem, the more permanent damage the heart muscle can sustain.

Freeman has received and consistently maintained Level 1 honors since 2017 to the present. Each new designation is valid for three years. Therefore, Freeman will remain a STEMI Level 1 hospital through 2026. 

The STEMI Level 1 designation is a testament to our teamwork at Freeman. The collaboration that takes place with every STEMI patient to ensure that we are providing highly efficient care, without sacrificing quality. Freeman is specifically equipped to treat STEMI patients – improving both speed and quality of care – by coordinating 911 response system, ambulance services and hospitals in a comprehensive, integrated approach.

There are an estimated 550,000 new heart attacks and 200,000 repeat heart attacks (meaning the person has had one before) heart attacks in the U.S. each year, according to the American Heart Association. About 38% of people who go to the emergency room with acute coronary syndrome were diagnosed with a STEMI. That means there are a over 280,000 people who have a STEMI in the U.S. each year. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication. Studies show patients can recover better when health care providers consistently follow treatment guidelines.

In addition to the Level 1 STEMI recognition, Freeman also received in 2023 the Platinum Performance Achievement Award for Chest Pain – MI Registry from the American College of Cardiology, as well as the Quality Achievement Awards Mission Lifeline: STEMI Gold Plus and NSTEMI Gold awards from the American Heart Association.

Michelle Wolfe is the STEMI Coordinator for Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute, which provides nationally recognized care for Joplin and surrounding areas. To find out more, give the Institute a call at 417.347.5000 or visit

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heart health

Feb 05, 2024

The Little Things You Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease

A Little Can Go A Long Way

February is Heart Disease Awareness Month, which means it’s a good time to review some simple steps to prevent heart disease and promote cardiovascular health.

Exercise: Staying active through regular exercise such as walking the dog, taking the stairs at work are two ways to improve physical activity on a daily basis. Further, playing a sport, jogging, cycling or weight training are also great ways to burn extra calories. Remember, the current recommendation is about two to three hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.

Food: Increase daily intake of fruits, nuts, vegetables, seed oils, whole grains and oil fish (essentially a Mediterranean diet) while reducing/avoiding intake of fried/processed foods, meats, full fat dairy and sugary snacks and beverages.

Daily Checks: Periodically check your blood pressure and keep it close to 120/80. Maintain a log of your statistics. For patients with hypertension (high blood pressure), follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan and limit salt intake.

Diabetes: For patients with diabetes, follow a diabetic diet and closely monitor your glucose and hemoglobin A1c

Just say no: Avoid tobacco use in any form, as well as excessive alcohol intake and the use of recreational/stimulant drugs.

Motivation: Avoid obesity by maintaining an active lifestyle and controlling portion size.

Sleep: Get eight hours of sleep every night. Considering screening for sleep apnea if you are not getting good quality sleep or if you are overweight.

Check in: To further assess your cardiovascular risk, discuss with your primary care provider about checking your cholesterol profile, hs-CRP and CT calcium scores.

Remember, always check with your personal provider or doctor before starting any kind of health regimen.

Darwin Jeyaraj MD, FAHA, FACC, FSCAI is a board-certified interventional cardiologist at Freeman Health System.

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doctor consult

Jan 03, 2024

Why Early Detection Screenings Are So Vital

Checkups Can Help Provide Better Results

“I feel healthy, so do I really need to get screened?” This is a question we may be tempted to ask. However, even when we’re feeling our best, health screenings are vital because they bring to light conditions or diseases we may have even if we’re not currently showing symptoms.

In most cases, the earlier a problem is detected, the more effective the treatment will be. Health screenings also give us a baseline of our current health, which can be helpful for comparison in future settings. 

Early Detection Screenings are more in-depth screenings. They include:

Stroke Screening/Carotid Artery

Plaque buildup is an abnormal collection of calcium and cholesterol on the artery walls. Blocked carotid arteries can restrict blood flow to the brain or break off and become lodged in a blood vessel, resulting in a stroke. Through ultrasound technology, carotid arteries are scanned along each side of the neck to detect narrowing or blockages. Early detection will allow you to take an appropriate course of action that may reduce future risk of stroke or other health concerns. 

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening

An abdominal aortic aneurism – a ballooning of the wall in the abdominal aorta – is most often caused by plaque buildup. Noticeable symptoms of an AAA are uncommon, and you may never know you have it. Early detection can increase your survival rate by 50% or more compared to emergency treatment after a ruptured aneurysm.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Screening

Peripheral arterial disease mainly affects the arteries located in arms, legs, and feet. When fatty deposits build up in the inner linings of the artery walls, blood flow is restricted. PAD often goes undiagnosed until painful symptoms start. Early detection could also help prevent future heart attack and stroke.

Osteoporosis Risk Assessment

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Men and women 55 years and older are at greater risk for osteoporosis, but it can occur at any age. Poor diet and lack of exercise can contribute to an osteoporosis diagnosis. Early detection allows a physician to start appropriate treatment.

Although you might feel fine, it is a good idea to check your numbers.  This includes blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and weight.  Also having a few in-depth screenings can give you even more information about your health and receive treatment right away if needed. Screenings are a simple way to check your health.

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Holiday Traditions

Dec 18, 2023

Freeman Leadership Shares Christmas Traditions

Nearly Every Family Has a Christmas Tradition

Nearly every family has a Christmas tradition.

Think of these celebrated acts as essential aspects of how an individual family celebrates the holiday season. With most families, these traditions are often passed along from one generation to the next, with very little modification. Such traditions can range from reciting a cherished poem in front of the fireplace to cooking a unique recipe from long ago. Above all else, traditions keep a family’s heritage alive.

Recently, members of Freeman Health System’s leadership team were kind enough to share their own family traditions. They are below. We hope you enjoy them!

Paula Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Freeman Health System

“Our family has a lot of traditions. My favorite is what I call the ‘green ball.’ When my son, Austin, was 3 years old, all he wanted was a green ball. He told everyone who asked him what he wanted for Christmas this -- he also told Santa. So, every year, I put a green ball beneath the Christmas tree as a wonderful reminder of this magical time in his life.

“Now, that’s just one tradition. We have numerous fun ones, too. For example, we always watch ‘Christmas Vacation” on Thanksgiving night – that is the kick-off to the Christmas season for us. As a family, we always attend late night church service on Christmas Eve. We always share an evening of making Christmas cookies and decorating them together. We also love riding all over town and looking at Christmas lights while we drink hot chocolate; every year, my husband, son and my brother take a weekend trip to Branson to see the Christmas shows and enjoy the beautiful lights. 

“Finally, I have an ornament that was my grandmother’s when she was a little girl. It is probably 150 years old. The glass is so thin you can practically see right through it. We always hang it in a special spot on our Christmas tree every year.”

Steve Graddy, Freeman’s Chief Financial Officer
“As you know, I love to cook for my family! Back in 2006, our family was growing, with our first grandchild on the way, and I wanted to start a new Christmas tradition for us. I found a recipe for “Christmas pasta.” The recipe was by Rachael Ray. She explained how each Christmas Eve, her family would work together to prepare this amazing dish. That sounded good to me! So, on Christmas Eve in 2006 I prepared the pasta sauce and our (then) family of six really enjoyed it. Fast forward now to 2023, there are 13 of us now! This will be our 17th Christmas Eve sharing this same family tradition together. Though the meal is delicious, the joy of being together with everyone, ranging in ages from 3 to 64, is so gratifying and precious to me.

“On Halloween night, my 12-year-old granddaughter started asking me, ‘Are we making Christmas pasta this year?’ I answered with an ‘Absolutely!’ She said it was her ‘favorite meal of the year.’ It’s mine too!”

Vicky Mieseler, Chief Administrative Officer of Ozark Center

“My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. There is something about the food and family togetherness that is special to me. I am a Thanksgiving traditionalist, and my family and I use the same Thanksgiving menu that I had when I was a little girl; the same menu that my parents had when they were children. The menu never varies and we prefer it that way.

“Now, my favorite part of the meal is my grandmother’s cornbread dressing and my mother’s seven step gravy! My girls and grandsons look forward to this meal every year.  My husband was born and raised in Minnesota and the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing was not cornbread dressing.  After 41 years of marriage, he now admits he has been won over by my family’s Thanksgiving traditions.

“Another tradition we have is each year at Christmas I pull unknown children’s names from the Angel tree to match the gender and age of my grandsons. We then spend one whole Saturday Christmas shopping for these children. It’s a wonderful way to learn about giving back to those in need and it also teaches our children the true meaning of Christmas.  It can be a little stressful with four boys all shopping at one time, but I wouldn’t change it for anything!”

Jeff Thompson, Chief Clinical Officer

“Obviously, I like a lot of foods (chuckle), but if I had to pick one holiday food that I love the most it would be “dirty rice,” – although my mom called it “rice dressing.” Regardless of the name I can remember helping her make it when I was a kid. My wife and daughters all love dirty rice, so I usually make a very large batch and we eat on it for days and days.

“On Christmas Eve, I read “A Cajun Night Before Christmas.” I always read it using a Cajun accent that keeps the kids tuned in and the adults laughing. Both connect me to my childhood in Louisiana, during a time when all my family was still with me.”

Renee Denton, Chief Operating Officer of Freeman Neosho Hospital

“I have two very special holiday traditions.

“Every year a different family member lovingly places a very disproportionate angel at the top of our tree. When I was in first grade my teacher, Sylvia Edgel, fired in her own kiln and painted ceramic angels for the entire class; the beautiful little angel was hollow inside. At age 7, I insisted to my mother this angel was intended to be the angel placed at the top of the Christmas tree. My mother sweetly conceded. For the past 52 years this little angel has adorned the top of our tree. My children and grandchildren know the history of the angel and each year there’s lively discussions about whose turn it is to place here at the top of the tree. The little angel has become symbolic in our family as a very special tradition. She is very small in stature but mighty in having played a part in creating loveable and magical memories.

“A second tradition was established by my mother 42 years ago. With the chaos that comes with opening presents, mom wanted to do more to savor the moments and build anticipation. Each year, she lovingly creates and hides treasure clues that lead her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren on hunts to find gifts from her and my dad. Her original grandchildren, now grown with children of their own, still look forward to this annual tradition. This is a very special, greatly anticipated holiday tradition that we all hold dear in our memories and hearts. It brings my mother great joy to hear the question they all ask her each year – ‘Nana, is it time for the treasure hunt?’”

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Healthy foods during the holiday

Dec 05, 2023

Navigating the Holidays with Healthy Habits

A Healthy Holiday Season is Attainable

Would you like to enjoy the holiday season without overindulging or feeling guilty? Believe it or not, there is a happy medium between overeating and total avoidance of an annual treat, and there are practices that can be helpful. 

•    Bring your favorite healthy dish to a gathering. Don’t forget to hydrate with water. Hold a bottle of water in your dominant hand while mingling. You will be less likely to nibble. 
•    Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80 percent of the time and allow yourself some freedom 20 percent of the time. Try not to label foods as “good” or “bad” to help maintain a healthy relationship with food. Give yourself permission to enjoy the special dish your family makes only once a year and enjoy it without guilt.
•    Avoid sitting at the table after you are satisfied.  Instead, get up and participate in a game, especially one where you’re on your feet. Or take a walk outside in the fresh air. If it’s too cold, watch a YouTube video both kids and adults will enjoy. 
•    Stick to your normal sleep routine, with the understanding that you may have a few late nights or early mornings this time of year. When sleep is interrupted for an extended period, we don’t think as clearly and may even feel grumpy. Lack of sleep may increase hunger as a result of imbalance of hormones that affect your appetite. 
•    Give yourself permission to disengage from the holiday hustle to reflect on what the holidays mean to you. Practice self-care by spending time away from social media or parties you prefer not to attend.

Remember the reason for the season and enjoy time spent with family and friends. Focus on the fun rather than the food or feeling need to overspend on gifts. Make holiday memories that outlive opening presents. 

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MONARCH Procedure

Nov 14, 2023

MONARCH®: Providing Answers and Peace Of Mind for Lung Health

Decreased wait time/better results are part of premier program

The waiting period for medical test results can be one marked by apprehension, even when the anticipated turnaround time is as brief as 48 hours. Wait times of weeks or even months can be agonizing.

Enter Freeman Health System pulmonologists, who can now make a precise diagnosis through a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that helps eliminate unnecessary wait times and guesswork.

Recently, Freeman Lung Institute marked its the 400th procedure using MONARCH®, a newer technology that gives Freeman pulmonologists a better way to see inside a patient’s lungs – making it a faster, more precise tool for diagnosing and treating lung cancer. Freeman is the first and only hospital in Missouri, Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma to invest in the MONARCH Platform by Auris Health, Inc.

“We are trying to find these masses when patients don’t have symptoms yet,” said Dr. Grant Pierson, board-certified pulmonologist at Freeman Lung Institute who utilizes MONARCH. “Once symptoms appear, it’s a more advanced stage of a cancer that has either grown to a large size or spread throughout the body. So we want to find it before symptoms appear – when it’s a very small nodule. We want to biopsy it, and if the lungs can tolerate it, either have it surgically removed or even radiated so the patient can be cancer-free.”

MONARCH’s cutting-edge technology combines the latest advancements in robotic control, minimally invasive instrumentation and data science into one platform, essentially reinventing the bronchoscope, a tool used to diagnose small masses in the lungs. The masses diagnosed might be something as benign as a tiny dirt particle – or as harmful as a cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, and early diagnosis is key to successful treatment. The problem is symptoms don’t often appear in the early stages of the disease, making that early diagnosis hard to achieve. Lung cancer can be caused by smoking, chemical exposure or radon, the latter a colorless, odorless gas common in the Four States. Radon exposure, in fact, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer.

The MONARCH robotic-assisted bronchoscope is a game-changer for patients seeking a diagnosis of a nodule in their lungs. Its novel telescoping design enables physicians to reach farther into the lungs and visualize what is being biopsied, all with impressive precision. Each component of the bronchoscope can be independently articulated, advanced, retracted and positionally locked, giving physicians greater control and maneuverability deep in the lung, where most small nodules are found. 

In other cases, masses in the lungs may be discovered when patients have an unrelated bout of chest pain, coughing or shortness of breath.

Dr. Pierson predicts that with the MONARCH Platform, biopsies will be more common for cases like these, so physicians can provide patients with solutions and well-being.

“In the future, the goal is to be able to biopsy, diagnose and treat the tumor, all within the same procedure,” said Dr. Pierson. “We could tell the patient ‘this was a cancer, but we were able to treat it, and now you’re cancer-free.’”

For more information about MONARCH or pulmonology services at Freeman, please call 417.347.8315 or visit

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