Dr. K. Michael Jay of Montrose Surgical Associates

Dr. K. Michael JayLongtime Montrose surgeon Mike Jay was honored as 2015 Physician of the Year. The award is given for outstanding service to the hospital and community. Recognized for bringing many firsts to surgical services and trauma programs at Montrose Memorial and for the excellent care he has provided to so many, Jay is past Chief of Staff and past Chief of Surgical Services at Montrose Memorial. He and wife Tammy have been generous donors to the Montrose Library, San Juan Healthcare Foundation and Hope West.

Dr. Jay has been a surgeon for almost forty years and a revered resident of Montrose since 1992. Growing up with a surgeon father and a nurse mother provided great role models and inside information about what a career in medicine is like. General surgeons in rural areas historically had to do everything, as experienced by his father as the only surgeon at a military base in Alaska. Today surgeons in rural areas still have both the challenge and the satisfaction of dealing with a wide variety of patients including those who might need abdominal, chest, vascular, endocrine, hernia, cancer or gall bladder surgery. Because Montrose does not have a gastroenterologist he has also become a gastrointestinal specialist, performing 25 to 30 colonoscopies and endoscopies weekly. “I have probably done 20,000 of those procedures over the years,” he said. “The hospital and surgery center are well equipped to handle them and patients appreciate not having to travel.”

As medicine evolves, there are more surgeries that can be done using less invasive procedures, such as laparoscopy, resulting in shorter hospital stays, faster healing and less down time for the patient. “Gall bladder surgery used to involve a hospital stay of three to seven days,” Jay continued. “Now it is considered same day surgery and patients can usually go home to recuperate once stabilized. One of the reasons I chose to practice here was the state of the art equipment and technology at Montrose Memorial. The hospital is very forward looking and dedicated to the health of the community and will continue to evolve and grow to meet the demands of its service area.” As Montrose has grown, so has the need for greater accessibility to surgery. Montrose Surgical Associates now has two additional surgeons, Dr. Colin Sharp and Dr. Sarah Judkins, with a fourth associate joining the busy practice this fall.

The latest in surgical technology at MMH is da Vinci Robotic Assisted Surgery, which allows even smaller incisions and thus less pain and recovery time than laparoscopic surgery. “The da Vinci Robot gives a surgeon a much finer sense of control and takes minimally invasive surgery to an even higher level,” Jay said. “Our da Vinci unit is very well used here for everything from gynecologic, urologic and colorectal procedures, to head, neck and thoracic surgery.” Dr. Jay cannot say enough about the surgical staff at the hospital, which he describes as outstanding and dedicated. “None of us physicians could do our jobs without our nurses,” he said. “Our operating rooms are constantly in use and the surgical support team has to be ready and available constantly.”

Dr. Jay works hard and plays hard and loves both. An avid road biker, he says living in Colorado is like living in bike heaven. He has completed seven Ride the Rockies and explored much of our state on his beloved bike. He also loves the ocean and tries to get away to Hawaii when possible. Gracious, congenial and confidence inspiring, he believes in focusing on what he does best. “I love to operate and I love to come to the office and see a success—a patient that I was able to help,” he said. “If I feel I am the best candidate for a patient’s surgical need, I will take the case. If I feel that a different specialist is needed, I will refer my patient.”

Why use the da Vinci Robot Assisted Surgery System?

With the da Vinci Surgical System, surgeons operate through just a few small incisions. It features a magnified 3D high definition vision system and tiny, wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand. As a result da Vinci enables surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control.