The Waco Surgical Group, 1952-current

Dr. Roy Baskin and Dr. Nicholas Bellegie came to Waco in 1952 after completing their surgical residency training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. They opened their office in the Professional Building at Fifth and Franklin. The examining tables for their office were built in Waco to the exact specifications of those used at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Bellegie was recalled to the U.S. Navy in January of 1953 to serve as a Task Force Surgeon during the Korean War. While he was gone, the tornado struck Waco in May 1953 and their office sustained water and wind damage when the windows were blown out, but the seven-story building survived, as did the occupants.

After Dr. Bellegie’s return in 1954, they built a small office building at 1925 North 25th Street. In 1979 the group built a free-standing office building at 2115 North 34th Street where they remained until 2000 when they moved to 6600 Fish Pond Road.

In July of 1975 they were joined by their first associate, another general surgeon, Dr. William Turney, who still works with them today. Over the years, surgeons in the group have included Dr. Gayland Sims, Dr. Bob Fender, Dr. David Ogden, Dr. Barry Oswalt, Dr. Ross Reagan, Dr. Elizabeth Kiraly, Dr. Todd Moffatt, Dr. Christen LeBlanc, Dr. Karen Ni-Jones, Dr. Mark Tullos, Dr. Nicole Reid, Dr. Sherrie Parker, and Dr. Todd Cumbie, along with the current group.

One way this group has benefited Waco greatly is their constant willingness to teach the family medicine residents, and to serve their patients. Another way is characteristic of so many physicians and groups in Waco’s history — the commitment to care for any and all with the same excellence and compassion.

The group now consists of Dr. Turney, Dr. David Hoffman, Dr. John Bawduniak, Dr. Karen Burnett, Dr. Carter Smith and Dr. Josh Goldstrich. They provide a full range of specialized surgical care in areas of vascular, cancer, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, breast treatment and care, obesity, varicose veins, and general surgical care. They perform surgeries at Fish Pond Surgery Center, Providence Health Center, and Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center.

This article was written with the help of Kay Turney.

Donald Stewart, M.D.

Donny is one of the first Waco community physicians when I came to Waco for my residency program, and has inspired me greatly all the time I have known him. Many times I have watched him explain carefully to patients the surgeries he planned to do, drawing their anatomy, and making them laugh and relax, while sincerely helping them make life and death decisions. Most Waco physicians and medical workers can easily tell stories of the “above and beyond” Donny does for patients. He is one of those physicians Waco is fortunate to have with excellent medical knowledge, surgical skill, genuine compassion, communication skills, work ethic, community leadership, and balanced and rewarding personal life.

Donny grew up in Odessa, Texas, attended Odessa Junior College, and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, then on to medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and post-graduate training in General Surgery and Urology in Denver, Colorado at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. He came to Waco in 1992 to join Marc Barrett and Mark Story at Central Texas Urology. He said he “was excited to join a medical community full of great physicians, most of whom worked very well together and took great care of all patients regardless of socio-economic status.”

He has received the community physician teaching award from the family medicine residency program, helped put together the building of the Fish Pond Medical Plaza, and the Six West Medical Center, and was a founding member of the Fish Pond Surgery Center. He has served as President of the medical staff at Providence, has been on the board of the residency program, is the medical director of the Fish Pond Surgery Center, and is the board chair of Care for Texans (a clinical integration network). One of the great memories of the past few years was Donny’s wildly hilarious, yet skillful and honoring, introduction of Farley Verner when he won the Gold-Headed Cane award.

In the community, Donny has served for many years on the Lorena School Board and the Lorena ISD Education Foundation. Donny’s three children are a joy to him and his wife Shannon and a testimony of their love and leadership in their family.

How do you think things are in Waco medicine?

Current trends in medicine have resulted in two hospitals that are much more corporate in their delivery systems and this has produced essentially “closed systems” in direct and fierce competition with one another. The quality of care overall is still very good, but the congeniality and collaborative nature of the physicians has suffered. I’d love to see more cooperation between the two hospitals.

What would be your message to physicians of Waco?

It’s truly a great honor and privilege to care for our patients, just as it always has been. Do not let the politics, EMR, and insurance company rules detract you from providing great care for patients and distract you from developing personal relationships with them.

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