Paul and Stormie Newman prepare patient Chloe for back surgery.
The Mobile Animal Surgery Hospital made a stop at the Cannon County Animal Clinic Wednesday.
Operated by Paul and Stormie Newman, the vehicle travels around Middle Tennessee docking at various clinics and to use for performing surgeries. Because of the cost involved with many kinds of specialized animal procedures, M.A.S.H. serves patients from throughout Tennessee and neighboring states.
"We used to do this with a box van packed with equipment... this way is much more efficient," Mrs. Newman said. The vehicle was custom built by a podiatrist who was serving the Native American reservation community to the tune of about $500,000.
When the podiatry operation set up individual clinics instead of using the mobile unit, they put it the vehicle up on eBay motors.
"It was a steal at $117,000. The thing only had 12,000 miles on it, too," explains Dr. Newman.
The unit has two wings that unfold when parked, yielding a remarkable spacious surgical environment. The equipment inside is top-of-the-line. A digital X-ray machine means no waiting for scans and no developing times.
Patients are brought into the prep area at the front of the vehicle and sedated, shaved, and supported before being moved to the main surgical room in the back.
"There are mobile spay/neuter clinics but no one else really does what we do -- having the full mobile surgical operation," Dr. Newman explains.
"We've got plans to expand the operation but we're not sure exactly how we'll do it at this point."
Stormie Newman added, "we're really trying to make this one unit work as efficiently and perfectly as possible before we move on to others."