Central Community Hospital - General surgery is now available

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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Area residents requiring certain surgeries no longer have to travel distances to have their procedures done. 

Central Community Hospital and Guttenberg Municipal Hospital, affiliates of the Mercy Health Network, last week began sharing the services of a newly hired surgeon. Dr. Tamara Holzer will be doing hernia repairs, gall bladder removals, appendectomies, and more at both facilities, enabling patients to have procedures done closer to home and, in many cases, nearer their support systems.

The area’s newest doctor lives in Prairie du Chien with her husband, Phil, and their toddler son, Atticus. She’s practiced there since 2011. Dr. Holzer is an Iowa native who relocated often as a youngster. Her father was a pastor and moved around to serve different churches. Dr. Holzer started high school at Vinton-Shellsburg but graduated from a school much closer to Clayton County—Aplington-Parkersburg. She earned an undergraduate degree in biology and later a medical degree from Des Moines University. She completed her residency in Ohio.

The path that took Dr. Holzer from an undergraduate degree to medical school was a bit circuitous.

“I was a (medical technologist) in Cresco for three years and then went to Montana, where I also worked as a med tech,” Dr. Holzer explained. “Ultimately, I decided the field wasn’t challenging enough for me so I decided to go to medical school. Unfortunately, I hadn’t set up myself for that so I had to take time to do a few things like teach myself physics before taking my MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).”

Even in medical school, Dr. Holzer’s path had a few twists and turns. She originally planned on being a pediatrician but changed her mind after dealing with too many parents “who wanted me to tell their kids that something wouldn’t hurt when they knew it would.”

A self-proclaimed morning person who doesn’t mind the early hours often surgery requires, Dr. Holzer changed her emphasis and has never looked back.

“It’s an area with a great deal of variety and instant gratification,” she said.

In addition to her other accomplishments, Dr. Holzer also recently completed an extensive leadership program and is now a certified physician executive. She hopes her experience and the endorsement will set her up to move into an administrative role like chief medical officer.

In Elkader, Dr. Holzer joins Drs. Timothy Daly, an ophthalmologist who performs eye surgeries; Jeff Klein, a podiatrist who does foot surgeries; and Joseph Snyder, a family medicine doctor who does colonoscopies. The four share an operating room that was remodeled in 2008 and will soon have some new pieces of equipment thanks to a capital equipment commitment made recently by the CCH board.

“We will continue (doing what it takes) to ensure that our operating room meets the needs of our surgeons and also complies with safety standards,” Kensinger said.

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