The Memorial Hospital in Craig has hired a new doctor to replace a long-time surgeon who plans to retire in January.
Hospital officials recently announced the hiring of Stanley Pense, a general surgeon who's practiced in three different states.
Pense began his residency in 1982 and has been in practice for 24 years.
He is tentatively scheduled to begin work at TMH in January.
"His goal is to be here by Jan. 1," said Pamala Thompson, TMH service excellence officer and spokeswoman.
She said hospital officials conducted a nationwide search in hopes of finding a replacement for David James.
Pense's combination of a thorough clinical background, years of experience and personality justified his place at the top of the list, Thompson said.
"Dr. Pense had everything we were looking for," Thompson said.
"He's an incredible doctor, an excellent surgeon and we were just fortunate enough that he selected Craig.
"He has a great personality that will fit in with Craig."
Thompson said James would stay on as a back-up surgeon at TMH until a second, full-time candidate is hired to replace him.
Having a second surgeon on staff helps spread out the workload, keeping doctors from being overburdened with too many surgeries, she said.
Pense was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
According to the resume Pense submitted to The Memorial Hospital, he has worked as a general and vascular surgeon in private practices in Portland, Yuma, Ariz., and Washington, Mo.
He completed his residency at hospitals in Phoenix.
He also completed medical mission work through a language school in Costa Rica, and as an associate professor of surgery at a regional teaching hospital in Trujillo, Peru.