MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center Welcomes Gastroenterologist Freaw Dejenie

CLINTON, MD--MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) is proud to announce that we have added another gastroenterology (GI) physician, Dr. Freaw Dejenie, to our team.

Dr. Dejenie will perform colonoscopies and endoscopies, and will treat esophageal disorders, stomach and intestine issues, colon problems, and liver disease.

“In this specialty, we treat patients not at one point of contact, but with continuity of care over a period of healing,” said Dr. Dejenie. “If we do a colonoscopy, for instance, and discover polyps or cancer, we can change someone’s life, and we can decrease mortality.”

Dr. Dejenie attended medical school at Addis Ababa University in his native Ethiopia and then came to the United States to complete his internship, residency, and fellowship. All three took place at Howard University Hospital, where he fell in love with the Washington, DC-area and with the GI specialty, which is in high demand in this area and across the country.

He joins Dr. Walid Chalhoub, who has been with MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for more than two years. 

“There is a need for good GI physicians across the country,” said MSMHC President Christine Wray. “We are excited this practice is growing at our hospital, and we are proud to welcome Dr. Dejenie to partner with Dr. Chalhoub in this thriving specialty.  Both physicians, along with Nurse Practitioner Kayleigh Lambert, provide excellent care and help bring healing and relief to patients suffering from gastrointestinal issues.”

To make an appointment with either of MSMHC’s two GI specialists, call 301-877-4599.

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About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 176 bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve.

Doc Saves Cop: Police Chief Highlights the Importance of Colonoscopies

Upper Marlboro Police Chief Calvin Washington Shares his Experience with Colon Cancer to Highlight the Importance of Regular Checkups, Particularly Colonoscopies

As a municipal police chief in Prince George’s County and a dad of three, Calvin Washington was so busy with his job and family, he wanted to ignore the nagging stomach pain he was experiencing. As with many unpleasant things you’re trying to ignore, it worsened, becoming so severe, Washington knew he would have to get it checked out.

First, Washington went to his primary care doctor, MedStar physician Arnulfo Bonavente, MD, who referred him to MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s gastroenterologist Walid Chalhoub, MD, for a colonoscopy. His scan showed a mass that proved to be a cancerous tumor the size of an orange.

“Here’s a young, healthy, fit guy, a cop, with kids,” said Dr. Chalhoub, a MedStar Georgetown University Hospital physician who sees and treats patients at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “This proves you need to get yourself screened and if you have symptoms, don’t take them lightly, because they won’t go away. In this case, I had to send him to a colorectal surgeon to take out that part of his colon and now, he’s alive and he’s cancer-free.”

During Washington’s successful surgery, all cancer was removed and repaired expertly, so with time, he would heal back to normal, without needing a colostomy bag. “That day, I was nervous and Dr. Chalhoub knew I was nervous,” said Washington. “His bedside manner, the way he can calm you down, the way he said, ‘It’s going to be okay, trust me,’ was comforting.”

After surgery, Washington began six months of chemotherapy treatments with MedStar oncologist Sunnie Kim, MD, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “The MedStar physician group; all of you guys are just great,” said Washington. “I’d recommend this group to anybody.”

Washington is now back to normal, after months recovering and overcoming fatigue. He reports he is fully mobile with a normal appetite and desire to enjoy hunting, fishing, and kayaking, like he did before his medical ordeal.

“I would encourage people to listen to your doctor, not only listen to your body,” said Washington. “A lot of people fear a colonoscopy because people know what that means, but for those people who fear this, fear the other thing: a physician telling you that you could possibly die. I could have, but I didn’t, so don’t be afraid.”

Before a colonoscopy, patients are administered medication to relax. The instrument used during the procedure is a thin flexible tube that allows the physician to see any abnormalities that can be removed. A colonoscopy typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

“Colonoscopies save lives,” says Dr. Chalhoub. “People can lose their life because of ego. Take the time to become informed and educate yourself on colon cancer.”

Please visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/Gastro for more information about gastroenterology services and treatments.

To view Dr. Chalhoub’s Facebook Live seminar on stomach pain, recorded in the fall of 2017, visit our page here ► Facebook.com/MedStarSouthernMD.

Media Inquiries

Cheryl Richardson, Director of Marketing
[email protected] 
PHONE 301-877-5556

Walid M. Chalhoub, MD

7501 Surratts Road
Clinton, MD 20735
Phone: (202) 444-1667
Accepting New Patients

Finding Relief After Colon Resection Surgery

Longtime Diverticulitis Sufferer Athelia Doggette Undergoes Removal of Problematic Section of Colon, Now Ready to Return to the NFL

The toughness seen in the National Football League isn’t limited to the field. It extends to NFL Players Association employee Athelia Doggette, who endured a long and painful battle with diverticulitis, or digestive tract inflammation, before undergoing surgery and working toward recovery and a return to her fast-paced job.

Since 2015, Athelia had been living with diverticulitis, which is a condition when pockets develop in the colon, that can cause pain, abdominal tenderness, nausea, vomiting or constipation. She began treatment with MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center physician Dr. Min Kim, who helped treat her using dietary modifications and treatments of antibiotics.

When her symptoms returned half a year after her last treatment, Athelia attended an Ask-the-Doctor Seminar entitled “When to See a Doctor for Growths,” and decided, in partnership with her MedStar physician team, that her case needed surgical intervention.

“Because of the kind of person I am, I did my research,” said Athelia. “I engaged with my doctor and did my own research to help this process along. I understood without this treatment, I could develop an infection or another abscess (a painful, swollen lump of pus caused by an infection).”

Athelia underwent a colonoscopy, which is a procedure using a thin tube affixed with a camera that allows a physician to fully examine the inner lining of the large intestine to look for inflammation, as in Athelia’s case, and can also detect the presence of ulcers, polyps, tumors and sources of bleeding. Once it was determined Athelia would benefit from removing the problem section of her intestine to prevent additional outbreaks, she was paired up with General Surgeon Dr. Michael Gillespie, who performed a robotic colon resection procedure to remove the affected area of her colon.

“We use a daVinci robotic machine, and if a patient needs this option, to have a part of their colon surgically removed, we can accommodate that here,” said Dr. Gillespie.

The machine used for Athelia’s procedure, which represents the latest in technology, allows surgeons like Dr. Gillespie to view a three-dimensional, high-definition view inside the patient’s body, and use a laparoscopic tube equipped with a camera to perform surgery in the most minimally-invasive way possible.

“In terms of resources, for a community hospital, we have improved greatly since I started here three years ago, and patients have said they receive outstanding care at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center,” said Dr. Gillespie.

After surgery, Athelia reports she is feeling good and healing well. She says she is improving every day due to Dr. Gillespie, her own determination and the help of her faith and family. Her appetite is back and Athelia will soon be ready to return to work and spend fun times with her friends at MGM National Harbor.

She has this advice for others who suffer from her condition: “I was not aware of what diverticulitis was until it hit me twice. It is a tough thing that can take away your total quality of life in an instant. Lots of myths exist about it, so I recommend you get together with a great doctor and have a conversation.”

Visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/Surgery for more information about surgery services at our hospital.