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Cover Story

Two Teams. One System. Comprehensive Care. Baptist Health thoracic surgeons pursue minimally invasive technique and optimal patient care BY JENNIFER S. NEWTON LOUISVILLE & NEW ALBANY, IND. Often, when it

comes to heart and lung programs, it is the heart side of the equation that we hear most often about. In cardiology and cardiac surgery, new techniques and treatments with exciting possibilities abound. For pulmonology and thoracic surgery programs, their work is no less important, although perhaps more of a slow and steady mentality. “In recent years there has not been a revolutionary advance in the treatment of lung cancer,” says Michael Bousamra, MD, thoracic surgeon with Baptist Health Floyd. “But progressive refinements have led to improved surgical outcomes, less patient morbidity, and more rapid return of function.” However, Bousamra and his cohorts across the river at Baptist Health Louisville – Robert Linker, MD, and Jonathan Kraut, MD – have set out to establish full service thoracic surgery programs specializing in minimally invasive procedures and are implementing proven programs and techniques, as well as innovative clinical trials, to make patient care and outcomes incrementally better. Linker, thoracic surgeon and medical director of the oncology program for Baptist Health Louisville, says, “We provide the full range of general thoracic surgical procedures with the emphasis on minimally invasive procedures. There isn’t much that we turn down or send away.” Linker is originally from Louisville and attended medical school at the University of Louisville. He pursued his general surgery

residency at the University of Cincinnati and his thoracic surgery residency at The Medical University of South Carolina. He returned to Louisville in 1986 and began practicing heart, vascular, and general thoracic surgery. It was not until 2001 that he began to focus solely on thoracic surgery. Thoracic surgeon Kraut is from outside Philadelphia and moved to Louisville in 2006 to join Linker in practice. He attended medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies, and completed his general surgery residency at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware and a fellowship in heart and lung at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo. Bousamra, who is from Michigan, attended medical school at the University of Michigan. He completed his general surgery residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and his thoracic surgery residency at Washington University in St. Louis. He came to Louisville in 1999 and spent 17 years practicing at U of L before joining Baptist Health Floyd in 2016. At Baptist Health Floyd, Bousamra says, “We’re a full service thoracic surgery practice. We operate on all diseases of the lung, esophagus, and mediastinum.” Those diseases include lung and esophageal cancers, as well as benign diseases of esophagus such as achalasia or hiatal hernias.

Concurrent Approaches to Cancer Care In both its locations on either side of the Ohio River, in Louisville and New Albany,

1  A merican Cancer Society. (2017, January 5). Key Statistics for Lung Cancer. Retrieved from American Cancer Society: 10  MD-UPDATE


Dr. Robert Linker is a thoracic surgeon and medical director of the oncology program for Baptist Health Louisville.

Dr. Jonathan Kraut is a thoracic surgeon with Baptist Health Louisville.

Dr. Michael Bousamra is a thoracic surgeon with Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany, Ind.

Ind., Baptist Health’s thoracic surgery programs put particular emphasis on lung and esophageal cancer treatment. Linker estimates that 70 percent of their practice is oncologic, and with good reason. In the US, one out of every four cancer deaths is attributable to lung cancer, more than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined1. Unfortunately, Kentucky leads the way. According to the

MD-UPDATE Issue #107  

Heart & Lung

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