Letter From Seth: Preventive Care is Important

Seth_Warren_St_VAs the president and CEO of Riverview Health, I spend a lot of time talking about the care provided here. This past fall, I got to see it all firsthand from a patient’s perspective. And I’m happy to report that I had a great experience.

Late last summer, at age 51, I finally got around to scheduling my first routine colonoscopy, performed by Dr. Jason Roberts, gastroenterologist. The prep and procedure were fairly easy—though it had been blown out of proportion by friends I’d talked to. If I’d known what a non-issue it was, I would have done it sooner. While I didn’t have any symptoms, my colonoscopy revealed several polyps that required surgical intervention. The early discovery of these polyps prevented what could have been a much different diagnosis.

Though reluctant to have surgery, I knew I was in good hands with Dr. Sam Heiser. In addition to being a skilled surgeon, he’s also a wonderful person who cares deeply about his patients. My surgery went well, and I was discharged after a couple of uneventful days. Recovering at home, I was healing well and ready to come back to work just two weeks after my surgery.

Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, complications set in unexpectedly. I had to be readmitted due to a blockage and intense pain. I ended up spending 13 days as an inpatient. While being hospitalized is not something anyone enjoys, I was well taken care of, as were my wife and mother who were by my side throughout. Physicians and staff from more than a dozen different departments contributed to my care, and we were overwhelmed with gratitude for their expertise and compassion. I regularly receive letters and phone calls from grateful patients wanting me to thank their caregivers, and now I can truly understand the appreciation you have as a patient for the people who do so much for you. So thank you to all Riverview Health staff for caring for me—and all of our patients—every day.

I’m sharing my story so that hopefully I can inspire others to take charge of their health. I regrettably waited a year longer than I should have for this routine test, and I would have had a significantly more serious diagnosis if I’d waited longer. The American Cancer Society recently updated its recommendations to say that adults with an average risk should schedule their first colonoscopy at age 45, but those with a family history or other risk factors should do so earlier. Ask your primary care physician what’s right for you. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month—a perfect time to schedule your first colonoscopy.

In good health,





Seth Warren

President and CEO, Riverview Health