Colorectal Surgeon Michael Liu, MD, Brings Small-Town Approach Back to Cleveland
September 24, 2020
UH Clinical Update | September 2020
He treats patients on Cleveland’s West side
Colorectal surgeon Michael Liu, MD, received his medical education and training in the city of Cleveland, first as a medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, then as a general surgery resident and colorectal surgery fellow at Cleveland Clinic. But he says it’s his three years practicing as a surgeon in small-town Northwest Ohio that have most informed how he approaches his job and responsibility with patients.
“Everyone knows everyone in a small town,” he says. “You go out in public, you’re at Walmart, people see you. Your outcomes are extremely important because everyone will hear about them. It was really important for me when I was there to make sure I was always at the top of my game, and I had a really good experience there. I always told my patients that my goal is to treat you as though you are a family member. If I were in their shoes, I would expect the same thing.”
Dr. Liu joined UH in early August as a colorectal surgeon and occasional general surgeon serving patients on Cleveland’s West side. He sees patients at UH St. John Medical Center and UH Westlake Health Center and performs surgery at UH St. John. Plans are also in the works for him to possibly perform some outpatient surgeries at UH Westlake Health Center.
Connections with current UH colorectal surgeons whom he knew from his training days were an important factor in Dr. Liu’s decision to join UH, he says.
“I had trained under Drs. David Dietz and Meagan Costedio when they were at Cleveland Clinic, so I maintained a connection with them, as well as with Dr. Ron Charles, who was a couple of years ahead of me in training,” he says. “I knew a lot of the people who were in the department of surgery here at UH, so it was a very easy transition.”
As a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Liu treats the expected areas of colon and rectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as benign issues like diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, anorectal fistula and anal fissures. He was trained on the surgical robot during his colorectal surgery fellowship and hopes to put it into practice with patients at UH St. John.
As he establishes his practice at UH, Dr. Liu says he will rely on the same approach to patients that served him so well in small-town Northwest Ohio.
“I emphasize pre-operative education with my patients,” he says. “Before we get into the operating room, I spend a lot of time talking with them about why they’re having surgery, why it’s necessary, and then taking them through exactly what we’ll be doing in the operating room, as well as post-operatively. We’ll sit down – I’ll draw pictures for them depicting exactly what we plan on doing so that they fully understand what’s happening. That way, I can address all of their questions, all of their concerns, all of their fears, so that things during the operation as well as post-operatively are as smooth as possible. I think it’s important for both of us to be on the same page so that expectations are in line and so that they have an easier time throughout the surgery process.”
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