MARSHALL – A tragic death in a far-off land showed Sundos Fadel the importance of immediate access to proper health care.
That circumstance – experienced when Fadel was a child in Lebanon – set her on a path that would guide her eventually to Marshall and the Oaklawn Medical Group, which she joined in September as a physician’s assistant in vascular surgery.
Fadel, 26, is the daughter of Youssef and Sue Fadel, who’ve resided in the Kalamazoo area since the family moved to the United States in 2004 from Beirut, Lebanon.
That significant childhood event occurred when Fadel was about 9 and an automobile accident killed her brother’s teen-aged friend.
“It was a horrible accident and he died in a waiting room,” she said. “That changed us as a family and changed my perspective on medicine as a whole.”
Fadel’s interest in medicine already was long-standing at that point, largely because she could see that it wasn’t readily available in Lebanon.
“I was dumbfounded by the fact that critically ill patients could be turned away from care, not just in Lebanon but in that region as a whole,” she said. “So it’s been my hope to make sure that health care is available to everyone.”
“My father grew up in the States and met my mother during a trip to Lebanon,” Fadel said. “They got married there, so our family was there for quite awhile. I was in Beirut until my freshman year of high school.” After their move to Michigan, Fadel graduated from Gull Lake High School.
By the time Fadel was a freshman in high school, she’d committed mentally to a career in health care. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services from Western Michigan University in 2012, graduating magnum cum laude.
This past August, Fadel received her Master’s Degree in Science in Medicine from WMU, focusing on Physician Assistant Studies. For the past five years, she also has worked as a phlebotomist at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital.
In Marshall, Fadel will work as a physician’s assistant exclusively with vascular surgeon Dr. Subhash Thakur of the Oaklawn Medical Group’s Heart & Vascular Institute, serving in the unit’s clinic, the operating room and during hospital rounds.
Fadel said she had an immediate “gut feeling” when she first discussed working with Dr. Thakur.
“I felt comfortable with him,” she said. “Our conversation felt very natural, and it was a friendly environment.”
Fadel had similar praise for the comfort level she felt when she visited Oaklawn itself.
“It felt like it was home, especially compared with other places where I interviewed,” she said.
As a result, Fadel is moving from Kalamazoo to Marshall and will live in the city near her new work at Oaklawn Hospital.
“After I interviewed there, I explored and drove around the town,” she said. “I’d been to Marshall once for trick-or-treating when I was a kid, and that was it. It has such a hometown feel. Everyone is extremely charming and kind.”
In her spare time, Fadel enjoys spending time with her family, particularly outdoors – hiking, kayaking and boating. A travel enthusiast, she spent some time in Egypt a few years ago and has plans to visit Italy.
“Growing up in Lebanon introduced me to diversity and great culture,” she said. “It instilled in me the desire to travel around the world and experience other cultures. Anytime I get a chance to experience a new culture, I’m up for it,” she said.
Fadel still has family in Lebanon, so she also anticipates future travel to that country in the hope of somehow helping to improve the heath-care environment there.
“It would be good to spend some more time there and deal with some of those concerns,” she said. “Lebanon does have extremely talented surgeons, and patients from around the world travel to receive health care there. I believe the health care there is improving, and that in itself has made it seem possible that change can happen anywhere.”
Fadel’s clinical experience includes more than 1,800 hours in such areas as pediatrics, OB/GYN, psychiatry, general and vascular surgery, family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, cardiology and hematology/oncology.
Fadel is certified in CPR/BLS and first aid, blood-borne pathogens and advanced cardiac life support. She is a member of the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
“Our range of services is increasing once again because of this expansion in our team focusing on vascular surgery,” said Mark A. Montross, Executive Director of the Oaklawn Medical Group. “Dr. Thakur and I both believe that Sundos will be an outstanding addition to that team.”
Thakur is board certified in vascular surgery and is trained in all aspects of vascular surgery; open and minimally invasive procedures and vascular medicine. The Oaklawn Medical Group’s Heart & Vascular Institute is based in Suite 2F of the Wright Medical Building at 215 E. Mansion St. in Marshall and may be contacted at (269) 789-8272.