Mountaintop Medicine from Estes Park Health: Dr. Bogardus is Estes Park Health’s new general surgeon

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For Dr. Chris Bogardus, moving to Estes Park and taking a job at Estes Park Health is a dream come true. She is a Colorado native, born in Colorado Springs, who used to come to Estes Park each Thanksgiving.

“We used to come up to Estes Park for the Thanksgiving buffet at the YMCA,” she recalled. “I spent my childhood roaming these hills and I’m glad to be back.”

Dr. Bogardus started working as EPH’s new general surgeon in June.

“My kids come home dirty from the YMCA every day and are loving it,” she said. “And my husband’s excited to be back in the mountains. My family enjoys hiking and exploring the mountain. My kids are very excited to get into camping.”

Dr. Bogardus earned her undergraduate degree at the Colorado School of Mines. She attended medical school at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in California and completed her residency as a general surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center Palisades in New Jersey.

Then, she came back to Colorado, working as a general surgeon at Prowers Medical Center in Lamar.

“I’ve been practicing on the plains for the last five years and needed to get back to the mountains,” Dr. Bogardus said.

She found out about the job at EPH because she knows Dr. Jennifer McLellan, Estes Park Health’s other general surgeon.

“I was the Trauma Medical Director at my previous hospital,” Dr. Bogardus explained. “I developed the trauma program there. I’m a surgeon so I’m into that instant gratification. I like being able to fix things and do it quickly. Trauma is quick paced. It’s fast-moving. You get in, fix it, and get out. Plus, you make an immediate difference for the patient.”

She will be joining Dr. McLellan in performing upper endoscopies and colonoscopies.

“The age is now 45,” Dr. Bogardus added. “Anyone over the age of 45 is encouraged to get their colonoscopy. I’m a big believer in preventative care.”

She also performs laparoscopic procedures, laparoscopic appendectomy, cholecystectomies, laparoscopic colon resections, hernia repairs and minor dermatological procedures, among others. She encourages Estes Valley residents who need a procedure to think of Estes Park Health first.

“We’ve got a very good operating staff and some beautiful operating rooms so that means a lot of those elective procedures can be performed here,” Dr. Bogardus noted. “Then your family can be around, you’re closer to home, and you’re closer to your surgeon in case something happens.”

She said her favorite surgery to perform is laparoscopic cholecystectomies which means taking out the gall bladder.

“It’s a fun little procedure,” Dr. Bogardus said. “People usually feel a lot better after it’s out if it’s been bothering them.”

When asked why she chose medicine as a career, she joked, “Other than being a lion tamer, being a doctor was the only other thing for me. They don’t have that many lion tamers. There are more doctors than lion tamers, so I ended up being a doctor.”