Madison County Health Care System (MCHCS) recently enjoyed a visit from Hungarian surgeons Dr. Fekete Laszlo, PhD and Dr. Szepesi Tamas. The goal of the visit was to learn more about the American medical system and was organized by the Kimball family as a show of their gratitude for the doctors’ professional intervention when a family trip to Hungary last summer took a dangerous turn.
The Kimball family, including local physicians Drs. Joe and Amy Kimball (Winterset) and Dr. Jim and Mary Ellen Kimball (Osceola), were in Budapest, Hungary last July when Mary Ellen became violently ill. She was rushed by ambulance to nearby hospital Honved Korhaz (Hospital of the Defense Forces of Hungary) and underwent emergency surgery. Ten days later a second surgery was performed to ensure the original procedure was functioning well and there was no infection. Dr. Szepesi was the primary surgeon on Mary Ellen’s case and Dr. Fekete, who is also a lieutenant colonel in the Hungarian military, serves as the facility’s chief surgeon. In total, Mary Ellen spent twenty-four days in the Budapest hospital and credits these doctors with saving her life.
Her extended hospital stay gave the doctors in her family a fascinating inside look into Hungary’s medical system. As a way to say “thank you” to the surgeons who saved Mary Ellen’s life in Budapest, the Kimball family flew them to Iowa to give them the same opportunity. The itinerary of their stay included special visits to Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, where Dr. Jim Kimball headed the Family Practice Residency Program and later worked in the Emergency Department, and Madison County Memorial Hospital and Health Trust Physicians Clinic, where Dr. Joe Kimball works as a family practice physician and Dr. Amy Kimball works as a pediatrician. They also toured the VA Central Iowa Health Care System, Clarke County Hospital in Osceola, Des Moines University, and Unity Point Medical Center.
Dr. Fekete and Dr. Szepesi stayed in Iowa for just under a week and had a chance to do some Iowa sightseeing in additional to their medical tours. In Winterset, they visited the John Wayne Museum, our historic county courthouse, and some of our beautiful covered bridges. They also stopped for a meal at the famous Northside Café and got to experience rural life at Drs. Joe and Amy Kimball’s country home.