Midwest Gastroenterology


Taormina, Cullough and Lozoff

Kansas City is blessed with a cornucopia of physicians specializing in all areas of medicine. Insurance aside, you can pick and choose the ones that you believe are best suited and most qualified to meet your personal health needs. It may take a bit of research on your part, and perhaps a bit of trial and error, but when it comes to selecting the best gastroenterology specialists in the metro area, perhaps this article will save you appreciable time and effort in that regard.

First of all, what is gastroenterology? Essentially, it is the branch of medicine that deals with disorders of the stomach and intestines. A gastroenterologist, then, is someone who studies and treats the function and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas, gall bladder, bile ducts and liver. If that makes you a bit squeamish, consider the idea that a gastroenterologist is one who can perform a short-term procedure that can provide long term benefits, depending upon the health issue at hand. Dr. Marc Taormina of Midwest Gastroenterology Center in Lee’s Summit, Missouri is one such specialist.Gastro1b

Success stories come in all shapes and sizes, and when considering the hallmarks of the contributing factors that shape that success and the inspirational elements behind it, sometimes it’s good to begin with the end in mind…literally. When you become a patient of Dr. Taormina of the Midwest Gastroenterology Center, your health, comfort, satisfaction and peace of mind are what he and his team of dedicated professionals work tirelessly to provide. No matter what service, procedure, or consultation you require, in the end you know that this experienced team will always keep your best interests in mind.

Obviously it can be quite the literary challenge to write a story that discusses such topics as endoscopies, gastrointestinal diseases and colonoscopies without breaking the ice with some sort of joke, and Dr. Taormina would probably be the first to admit to that sentiment. Without question, initial conclusion of his personality reveals a medical professional of great character and integrity tempered with a laid back and easy going style. He has a welcoming presence coupled with a relaxed sense of humor, and somehow you feel there is really no reason to put off that gastrointestinal (GI) procedure you’ve been dreading, such as that routine colonoscopy your primary care doctor keeps reminding you to get. Clearly passionate about what he does, Dr. Taormina confidently pontificates with enthusiasm and excitement for his chosen profession, and for good reason. After all, he is in the business of saving lives. Having completed thousands upon thousands of GI procedures over the course of his career, it’s easy to understand why so many people put their health in his hands.

A Kansas City native, Dr. Taormina graduated from medical school in 1977, completing the accelerated six-year program at the University of Missouri –– Kansas City School of Medicine. From there he transitioned to an internship at Baylor Medical Center in Houston, Texas and also acquired five years of postgraduate training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and a facility in Honolulu, completing a Fellowship in Gastroenterology. He is triple board certified in the specialties of Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine and has been in practice since 1982. He opened Midwest Gastroenterology Center in 1998, with a primary presence in Lee’s Summit, Missouri since 2003. Dr. Taormina is affiliated with Centerpoint Medical Center and is also the Medical Director of the Midwest Physicians Surgery Center in Lee’s Summit, the center’s own endoscopy center dedicated just to GI procedures. However, this accomplished physician’s passion for medicine began before he was even old enough to drive.

“I knew I was going to be a doctor when I was 13 years old,” he recalled, referencing his upbringing in the inner city. “I was there when my dad died in the middle of the night at home from cardiac arrest. I thought to myself ‘if only I’d known what to do, I could have saved him.’”

That’s a tough burden to place upon your heart, but it truly intoxicated Dr. Taormina’s desire to pursue a calling in medicine, and while he stood helpless as his father took his last breath, his inherent drive and determination to help others has put a positive light on the face of medicine for more than three decades.

But Dr. Taormina had a few obstacles of his own to overcome before he obtained the designation of Medical Doctor. After the death of his father, his family slid down the economic scale, staring poverty in the eye, making the dream of attending medical school just that –– a dream. He pushed himself academically as a stellar student at East High School and fortunately, with the assistance of scholarships, Dr. Taormina became a member of the inaugural class of the University of Missouri ––  Kansas City School of Medicine’s six year B.A./M.D. program, a journey not for the faint of heart.

“It was a very rigorous program,” he recalled. “But I ended up graduating a semester early when I was just 23 years old.”Gastro3b

Because of the scholarships Dr. Taormina received during the course of his education, he was able to fulfill his dream and as a result has recently donated funds to the UMKC School of Medicine to assist medical students who are facing similar economic challenges he faced and to mentor those students while giving back to a school that gave him so much. Dr. Taormina is one for whom kindness and compassion are genuine instincts, and those traits are something he extends to everyone, especially his patients.

“It’s our goal to ensure our patients have a relaxed and comfortable experience at our facility,” he noted. “We understand that going to a hospital to have these types of procedures done is not always desired, so we provide a non-clinical, welcoming and comforting environment.”

Operating under the umbrella company of Westglen GI Consultants in Shawnee, Kansas, the Midwest Gastroenterology Center provides top-notch medical treatment covering issues affecting the entire GI tract, including heartburn, acid reflux, coughing, throat clearing, esophageal cancer, and even liver disease, along with colon screening, disease education, dietary counseling and a variety of support services. Using special instruments, the professionals at Midwest    Gastroenterology Center are specifically trained to perform diagnostic tests of the digestive system, including celiac disease, colon (colorectal) cancer, and esophageal conditions.  Using the latest in technology, the success rate for colon screening is over 99% and the doctors are able to provide key diagnostic information to patients and doctors quickly and accurately.  Using high-quality images and an advanced recording system, the records can be immediately faxed to the referring physician.

Dr. Taormina urges people to get a routine colonoscopy at age 50 (at age 45 for African Americans) and at age 40 if you have a family history of the disease. Despite being the the second most common form of cancer in both men and women in the United States, colon cancer it is preventable, which is why routine screenings are important for early detection. Unfortunately, many people die every year because they fail to obtain proper screening. Dr. Taormina would ideally like to narrow that number down to zero.

“Some of the symptoms of colon cancer can include rectal bleeding, change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss and changes in appetite,” noted Dr. Taormina. “If detected early, it can be prevented by the removal of the polyps. The disease is curable.”

Other symptoms of GI trouble can include difficulty with swallowing or intestinal discomfort. While some of these symptoms may be benign, the specialized equipment and training offered at Midwest Gastroenterology Center can mean the difference between life or death. Dr. Taormina and his staff continually communicate with and educate patients on the importance of screening, the impact of diet, and other educational directives to ensure their patients remain on the leading edge of understanding their health and taking control of any issues that should arise.

Roughly 80% of the procedures preformed at the center are colonoscopies, and while you may have heard stories from others who have had these done elsewhere, which is why you may have put it off unnecessarily, Midwest Gastroenterology will definitely assuage any anxiety you might have, as patient comfort is their top priority.

“We offer low volume FDA-approved preps for colonoscopies which involve two liter options as opposed to the standard gallon,” noted Dr. Taormina, noting that these procedures are performed with Propofol, a short-acting medication delivered intravenously for a decreased level of consciousness that is administered by an anesthesia professional.

“The patient is asleep through the exam, but awakens right up afterwards without complications,” said Dr. Taormina.

The center also offers new surgical hemorrhoid therapy done via electro cautery of the hemorrhoid which eliminates the need for sedation and can be done on an out-patient basis.

“And when appropriate, we can treat hemorrhoids at the time of the colonoscopy,” said Dr. Taormina.

For Dr. Taormina, being a physician is not just a calling, but a privilege. Empathetic and understanding, he listens with sincerity to each patient, offering specifically tailored treatment programs designed to save lives while simultaneously providing ultimate comfort. He is an expert in the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer, hemorrhoid treatment and managing inflammatory bowel disease, such as Chron’s disease and colitis.

Working alongside Dr. Taormina is Dr. Wade McCullough, a graduate of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, formerly known as the University of Health Sciences. Board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Dr. McCullough has been recognized as one of America’s Top Gastroenterologists by the Consumer Health Research Council and the Midwest Health Foundation. Dr. McCullough serves on the staff of the Midwest Physicians Surgery Center, Centerpoint Ambulatory Surgical Center, St. Luke’s Northland Hospital and Liberty Hospital.

Joining the team in February 2016 is Dr. Richard Lozoff, also a board certified gastroenterologist who graduated from the University of Wisconsin –– Madison and Rush University Medical College in Chicago. Additionally, he completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology at Hines VA/Loyola Medical Center. He has been practicing in this specialty within the Lee’s Summit area since 1985. In addition to his medical skills, Dr. Lozoff holds a degree in Culinary Arts and enjoys exercising his culinary prowess in the kitchen. He and his wife Gail own SPIN! Pizza.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Lozoff to our practice,” said Dr. Taormina. The center is open Monday through Friday but also provides appointments one Saturday a month in the morning.

“We understand that you have the choice to go anywhere in the city to get your screenings done, but it is our goal to continually offer the best in the area,” reinforced Dr. Taormina. “I like seeing the immediate results we can provide and the satisfaction that comes with giving our patients the best care possible.”

Midwest Gastroenterology is the only center in Western Missouri accredited by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, which recognizes physicians with a focus on advancing patient care and digestive health through excellence and innovation in endoscopy. Midwest Gastroenterology Center is also accredited by the Joint Commission of the Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH).

And with respect to the previously mentioned jokes about colonoscopies that tend to add a bit a levity to the situation, it’s safe to assume that Dr. Taormina wants every patient’s health story to have a happy ending.

For more information on Dr. Taormina and his staff, go online at midwestgastrokc.com, visit them at 3601 NE Ralph Powell Road in Lee’s Summit, or call 816.836.2200.

Midwest Gastroenterology
3601 NW Ralph Powell Road, Lee’s Summit, MO 64064

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