Skip to Content

William Hagarman: Crohn’s disease

Image of William Hagarman.

Meet William Hagarman

Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 16 years old, William Hagarman went nearly 20 years without many health issues. But things changed in the summer of 2023.

“I could tell something wasn’t right,” recalls William. “I didn’t have my usual energy and had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I’d then need to use the bathroom 20-30 times a day.”

The resident of West York, Pa. says he also lost his appetite – often eating one daily meal, at most.

“I’ve always been a bigger guy, so it was quite a surprise to have people start telling me they could notice I was losing weight.”

Convenient Video Visits

William scheduled an appointment with a gastroenterologist close to home, who ran some tests but suggested seeking a second opinion from Jeffrey Dueker, MD, a UPMC gastroenterologist and inflammatory bowel disease specialist based in Pittsburgh. After a couple of convenient video visits with Dr. Dueker, he referred Wiliam to Andrew Watson, MD, from the UPMC Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery.

Living more than four hours away from Dr. Watson’s office, William was thankful to meet with him virtually. Appearing only on a screen, Dr. Watson was able to thoroughly explain lab reports, CT scans, and possible treatments for William’s medical issue – an inflamed small intestine.

“Based on everything he saw, we decided that surgery would be the best option,” says William. “I didn’t need to be in the same room as him. I trusted the plan he proposed that we decided to put into place.”

The Trip to Pittsburgh

To prepare for his surgery, William received support from the UPMC Center for Perioperative Care. He, his fiancée, and young son arrived in Pittsburgh on Nov. 16, 2023 – one night before his scheduled procedure at UPMC Montefiore. When he awoke the next day, William recalls it wasn’t long before he could tell he had come to the right place.

“Everyone I met at the hospital was so nice. I met Dr. Watson in person, and he is hands-down one of the best doctors I’ve ever encountered. He told me what was going to happen, and that was very reassuring. The nurses were great as well. I felt welcomed and comfortable the entire time.”

During surgery, Dr. Watson removed a large blockage from William’s colon. In the days that followed, his strength returned, and he was able to walk the hallways of the hospital before being discharged on Thanksgiving.

“I absolutely loved using telemedicine”

Now back home in York County, William says he has more energy and more of an appetite. He’s gaining his weight back and eating three small meals a day. His favorite meal is breakfast with his son.

He’s also back to work as a truck driver – a job that was inconvenienced by his Crohn’s flareup.

“Having to plan when I would eat based on where I could park a tractor trailer to then use a restroom was difficult,” explains William.

And he’s glad he didn’t have to take several sick days off from work to see his doctor.

“Being able to talk to Dr. Dueker and Dr. Watson without making the drive to Pittsburgh saved me at least eight hours of time on the road, roundtrip. I absolutely loved using telemedicine.”

William’s treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Learn more about telemedicine services or call 412-647-1705.