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Finding a solution to inoperable gallbladder pain

Endoscopy saved her life — and ended her pain.

To Lois Bennick, an inflamed gallbladder felt like someone had stuck a knife in her side. But with other health issues, including low platelets and non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis, she was too sick to have surgery.

“I cried every time a group of doctors came in to visit me. From the serious looks on their faces, I thought I was going to die,” says Lois Bennick, 70, of Hegins.

Enter endoscopic surgery

Geisinger gastroenterologist Harshit Khara, MD was able to fix Ms. Bennick’s gallbladder without surgery by guiding an endoscope down through her throat to her stomach.

He made a tiny hole in the stomach wall and implanted a stent. Now her gallbladder could drain into her stomach, easing the pressure — and her pain.

“With this procedure, there’s no incision on the skin,” explains Dr. Khara, the only doctor in Pennsylvania who performs endoscopic gallbladder drainage. “Patients have immediate recovery. They wake up and literally don’t feel anything.”

Three years later and still feeling great

Ms. Bennick’s gallbladder is back to normal now and her platelet count and liver function have improved. She still has health problems but says she’s doing well and enjoys traveling, playing cards and doing jigsaw puzzles. She continues to see Dr. Khara every six months.

Ms. Bennick was so impressed with Dr. Khara that her husband of 51 years started seeing him, too, for a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.

“Dr. Khara has been my salvation,” Ms. Bennick says. “He was the doctor who said he could help me, and he did. He got me through it. I was just so lucky I went to Danville. We keep telling everyone how wonderful he is. Geisinger is lucky to have him.”

Next steps:

Read and watch more stories
Learn about gastroenterology at Geisinger
Meet Harshit Khara, MD

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