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St. Joseph’s celebrates opening of Mission Pain Medicine Consultants clinic 

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St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center

St. Joseph’s celebrates opening of Mission Pain Medicine Consultants clinic

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center celebrated the recent opening of the Mission Pain Medicine Consultants clinic with an Oct. 26 open house, dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The clinic is conveniently located next to St. Joseph’s in Suite 106 of the Medical Office Building and features a staff of five, including Medical Director Ronald E. Harbut, M.D., Ph.D., who is board certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine. Dr. Harbut most recently served as both an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and Director of the Neuropathic Pain Treatment Program at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

“I believe it is important for us to think about how the opening of the Mission Pain Medicine Consultants clinic ties into the mission of the organization,” said Patrick McCruden, St. Joseph’s Vice President of Mission & Ethics, during his welcome message to the ceremony attendees. “The Sisters of Mercy are involved in healthcare facilities, as well as other giving endeavors, because of their commitment to following Jesus and his healing ministries.

“When Jesus healed people, He didn’t just heal physically; He healed in every possible way – socially, spiritually and physically. Dr Harbut and his staff are doing the same in that they are not just treating the physical symptoms; they are allowing patients to return to a normal life free of pain. As an organization, we are happy to be having this day and to be welcoming a physician of Dr. Harbut’s nationwide acclaim to our team.”

Dr. Harbut, who earned his doctorate degree in pharmacology from the University of Utah, medical degree from the University of Health Sciences-Chicago Medical School and bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of Arizona, secured his fellowship training in pain medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. Moreover, he brought with him a treatment for an often very resistant pain disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

“I was looking for an opportunity to improve my career and I had been longing to work in a facility that was faith based,” said Dr. Harbut, who along with his wife of 10 years, Karen, has a three-year-old daughter named Megan. “Having interviewed at various places for positions, I was most impressed with the values and enthusiasm of the people I met here. Everyone is genuine, warm, caring and sincere, and that really drew me to St. Joseph’s.

“I started working on this new treatment for neuropathic pain in 2001 when I was at the Mayo Clinic. I worked closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in obtaining an approved protocol. We had some interesting initial results that helped guide the direction we needed to go with our work. Our work has continued since then regarding its application in the treatment of CRPS (also known as RSD) and other central-sensitization disorders.”

In addition to the CRPS research protocol study and a non-research-related CRPS treatment program, the clinic’s healthcare professionals are also treating patients – both outpatient and inpatient – with chronic pain. Other members of the highly-qualified staff include Sylvia Phillips, RN, BSN, clinical supervisor; Renee Fazendine, office manager; Nina Morgan, LPN II, clinic nurse; and Julia Brown, receptionist.

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