From specialized breast cancer procedures to comprehensive general surgeries,
the newest members of MCMC Surgical Clinic greatly enhance the level of
surgical care in the region.
In recent months, two new surgeons have joined the growing MCMC Surgical
Clinic. Caitlin McCarthy, M.D., and Phillip Letourneau, M.D., have teamed
with Paul Moon, M.D., to offer comprehensive general surgery resources
and expertise to patients throughout the region. While Dr. Moon has provided
high-quality surgical care for area patients for more than 20 years, we’d
like to introduce the new members of the team.
Dr. Phillip Letourneau
Following his earlier stops in New Orleans, Houston, and Portland, Dr.
Letourneau says The Dalles is offering much more than just a change of scenery.
“As a general surgeon in a rural area, one is asked to do more than
they are in a larger city,” he says. “Here, I am called upon
to provide a broader range of services than I would be in larger areas.”
Dr. Letourneau graduated from the Louisiana State University School of
Medicine and did his internship and residency in general surgery at the
University of Texas Medical School at Houston. A fellowship in surgical
critical care at Oregon Health and Science University brought him to the
Northwest. He says enjoys the opportunity to care for people at a time
of great need and appreciates that working in a smaller community allows
him to get to know his patients better. He’s also noticed the distances
people in rural areas have to travel to seek care.
“I recognize the effort it takes a lot of people just to get to the
hospital,” he says.“That’s not lost on me.”
Dr. Letourneau also appreciates the level of collegiality that exists at
MCMC. “The staff seems friendlier, less formal. We’re on a
first-name basis, and there’s not such a rigid hierarchy. Large
city hospitals can be kind of like a conveyor belt.”
Dr. Letourneau’s surgical interests include benign biliary disease,
complex hernia surgery, and anti-reflux surgery. He’s been especially
pleased to see the positive outcomes that have resulted from people with
“Imagine if you’ve been nauseous after every meal you’ve
had for years and then, almost immediately after the procedure,you feel
better,” he says. “If you can positively impact someone’s
life in that way, that’s a pretty good outcome.”
An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Letourneau likes to spend his free time fishing,
hiking, skiing, and rafting and also enjoys golf and cooking. He and his
wife, who works at Nike in Portland, have enjoyed experiencing what Oregon
has to offer.
For Dr. Letourneau, relocating to the Gorge has been an overwhelmingly
positive decision. “What I thought was going to be a temporary visit
has turned into a really great opportunity.”
Dr. Caitlin McCarthy
After falling in love with the Pacific Northwest during her time in medical
school at the University of Washington, Dr. McCarthy was excited by the
prospect of returning to the region.
She grew up in a small Wyoming town, where she enjoyed equestrian pursuits,
skiing, and whitewater rafting, so the Columbia River Gorge was a perfect
fit. It didn’t hurt that her husband, Luke, comes from a family
of orchardists who have lived in the region for generations.
Dr. McCarthy says she was drawn to the surgical specialty because of her
love of science and working with her hands. “I love the tactile
nature of surgery, and I get the privilege of affecting a noticeable change
for my patients.”
After medical school, Dr. McCarthy did her residency at St. Joseph’s
Hospital in Denver. While there she rotated among 10 hospitals covering
diverse specialties including emergency and pediatric services. This allowed
Dr. McCarthy to develop experience in a wide variety of practices and
procedures and helped prepare her for her career at MCMC, where physicians
are often called upon to assist in a broad range of circumstances.
Dr. McCarthy’s surgical interests include breast surgery for cancer
and benign disease, minimally invasive laparoscopy,including stomach anti-reflux
procedures, colorectal, and gallbladder problems.
She is working toward an advanced certification for breast imaging, biopsy,
and partial breast radiation. Dr. McCarthy also is trained in the treatment
of thyroid and parathyroid diseases.
Both the community and MCMC have welcomed Dr. McCarthy warmly, she says.
“In a larger community, you don’t have the luxury of time
to get to know patients and their families. This community has a real
Like Dr. Letourneau, Dr. McCarthy says she is also impressed with the collegiality
of the medical community. “People reached out as soon as I arrived.
Larger institutions often have a greater sense of individual domains.
Here there’s more of a sense of ‘Here’s my skill set,
how can I help?’ MCMC is more about being inclusive rather than
As for her future, Dr. McCarthy is clear. “I want to be a part of
the community,” she says. “I intend to spend my career here.”