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Published on May 09, 2011

1000th Bariatric Surgery Patient Has More Energy to Keep Up With Lively Students

Carl Sztuzcko One of the first things Carl Sztuczko noticed when he had bariatric surgery last November was more energy for keeping up with lively students at the school where he works as a principal. “I feel great,” said the 48-year-old St. Louis resident, “and every day gets better.”

Sztuczko was the 1000th patient to have bariatric surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot in Alma. Since the program began in 2003, more than 1,100 bariatric surgeries have been performed, resulting in a combined total weight loss of more than 170,000 pounds. Surgeries are performed by an experienced team of board-certified surgeons, including Ernest Cudjoe, M.D., Jeffrey Smith, M.D., James Pilkington, M.D., and Jeffrey Bonacci, M.D.

While having their 1000th patient was a major milestone for the Medical Center, being that patient was a life-changing experience for Sztuczko. “My health was not going the way I wanted,” he said. “I needed to do something if I wanted to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle someday.” Since committing to the process, he has lost 90 pounds, and will reach his goal weight with the loss of another 10 pounds.

“My health has improved,” he said. “My bad cholesterol level dropped 60 points, and my doctor has discontinued my blood pressure medication. I will be totally off all diabetes medication in the next couple of months.”

Sztuczko first discussed weight loss options with his family doctor, C. Jeffrey Holmes, M.D., then explored his choices for bariatric surgery and learned about the process at a seminar offered by the Medical Center. He understood that the procedure is not a stand-alone event.

“People considering bariatric surgery must be prepared to take the process seriously and be willing to commit to a lifelong lifestyle change before surgery,” he said.

Sztuczko said adjusting to a new lifestyle was not as difficult as he thought it might be. “The diet I followed after surgery was planned for me, and that made it easier. Also, I am much more conscious of what I am eating – I read labels now.” He added that his healthier habits are being transferred to his family, since meal preparation is a shared responsibility with his wife, Peggy. She is pleased with his results, too, despite the need to keep shopping for new clothes for her husband, who is down several pants sizes so far.

“We have a great Medical Center here in Gratiot County,” Sztuczko said. “Dr. Cudjoe and Dr. Smith are outstanding and the entire bariatric team is great. They did a very good job preparing me for the process and the surgery so that there were no surprises. The nurses at the hospital were also wonderful, friendly and supportive. I can’t say enough good things about them.”
Bariatric surgery is also performed at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland.

Those who would like additional information about bariatric surgery or a list of upcoming seminar dates may visit or call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at
(800) 999-3199.