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Published on August 25, 2011

Mercy Bariatrics Program Expands to Nazareth Hospital

Modeled after the award-winning program at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Mercy Bariatrics at Nazareth helps patients live healthier and regain their lives

Northeast Philadelphia, PA - After nearly 500 successful surgeries since 2007, Mercy Bariatrics, the award-winning weight loss surgery program at Mercy Health System, has announced an expansion to Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia The bariatric program started at affiliated Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa., which is designated as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence®, a Blue Distinction® Center for Bariatric Surgery and an Institute of Quality® Bariatric Surgery Facility – one of only a handful of hospitals in the Philadelphia area to achieve these prestigious designations. These accolades recognize the program's consistency in delivering safe, effective, evidence-based care.

Mercy Bariatrics has one of the most experienced teams and is one of the region's leaders in number of surgeries performed each year. The bariatrics program at Nazareth Hospital is led by board-certified surgeon, Brendan O'Connell, MD, who has been trained in the latest advances in bariatric surgery including: gastric banding, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and revisional surgery. A graduate of Temple University School of Medicine, Dr. O'Connell is certified by the American Board of Surgery, and completed a Fellowship in Bariatric Surgery at the University of Connecticut/St. Francis Hospital.

The comprehensive program provides support services and evaluations that address the multifaceted challenges of obesity; these include preoperative assessments and counseling, nutritional services, exercise programs and support groups. The bariatric team at Nazareth includes not only physicians, but also dietitians, physical therapists, sleep specialists, nurses and clinicians specially trained to address the needs of bariatric patients.

According to Mercy Bariatrics Clinical Director Prashanth Ramachandra, MD, "Nearly every patient undergoes surgery using minimally invasive techniques to result in the best possible outcomes and a rapid recovery time. Long-term follow up and personalized care is provided by our experienced staff to ensure continued success."

Studies have shown that weight loss surgery and its related lifestyle changes extend lives and may reverse obesity-related health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. In a report published in the Archives of Surgery, researchers say eight out of 10 patients could stop taking their diabetes medications following a gastric bypass operation.

Katrina Turtu of Harleysville, Pa., can attest to the benefits of weight loss surgery. Insulin-resistant, pre-diabetic and diagnosed with gastroparesis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, she knew she had to make a drastic lifestyle change. After gastric bypass surgery in September 2009, which helped her lose 136 pounds, all of those complications are under control, or resolved entirely. "Today I have no death sentence. I stand here living the life I always wanted, always dreamed of, and always knew I was capable of living," she said.

"Our team provides support to help our patients live healthier, happier lives while maintaining weight loss for life," says Dr. Brendan O'Connell. "We're here for our patients every step of the way and available around the clock."

Mercy Bariatrics recently launched a new website at, which features videos, testimonials, recipes, a BMI calculator, patient resources, an e-newsletter and complete details regarding the program. An iPhone and Android app that gives information about Mercy Bariatrics, shows virtual results of bariatric surgery on patients' pictures, as well as provides information on procedures and the ability to schedule a consultation, will be available by the end of August.

To request an appointment, visit or call 1.855.LESS.YOU.

Media Contact

Christy A. McCabe
Director, Marketing Communications

Nazareth Hospital
2601 Holme Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19152

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