God, family and general surgery

Published 2:04 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

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Earlier this year, we promised more exciting announcements from the hospital. 

Well, more declarations are to come, but today I am thrilled to make public the addition of Joshua Knolhoff, MD, to the St. Luke’s team. Dr. Knolhoff is our Director of General Surgery.


Dr. Knolhoff is a very talented, world-class surgeon with a breadth of global experience. He is a board-certified surgeon who graduated from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed his residency through the Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Knolhoff is also certified in laparoscopic surgery.


The doctor comes to us with exceptional credentials and vast experience in general surgery. His impressive background includes open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery. In addition, his proficiency encompasses breast, hernia, biliary, colon, skin, non-operative management, image-guided diagnostic, elective and emergent endoscopy, and acute care surgery. Dr. Knolhoff also has extensive burn and trauma experience.


In speaking about the assembly of world-class talent at St. Luke’s, Dr. Knolhoff said, “I believe that the combination of our four specialists in general surgery, oncology, cardiology, and urology are essential to provide the safest and most effective preventative, elective and urgent care needs for Polk County.”


Josh (as he prefers to be known away from the hospital) comes from humble, hardworking farm stock. To hear from him, “I grew up in a small town of hardworking, compassionate, accepting, intelligent, and content family, teachers, mentors, and friends. First in my life are my church and God. Milking cows and driving green tractors on the family farm taught me hard work and its value to my happiness and those around me.” According to Josh, “life on the farm allowed me to work with and learn from our local veterinarians by observing my first surgery at eight, and regularly participating in necropsies at the animal disease lab with Dr. Hill who was a member of my church.”   


Josh learned early the value of community but was never afraid to explore outside his comfort zone. Blessed to travel the world through his education, Josh shared, “My first exchange was to Sweden. It seemed like a convenient way to ease into other cultures with school in English and amazing people.” Josh did his second exchange at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands for similar reasons. He found these educational exchanges also provided time to explore surrounding countries.  


Dr. Knolhoff spent a summer in Cape Town, South Africa, working in Somerset Children’s Hospital after his first year of medical school. He took advantage of unique medical school electives to spend several months at Nagoya University Hospital in Japan, Kathmandu Public Hospital in Nepal, and Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He was privileged to live and learn from Great Lakota Chiefs like Albert White Hat. Josh is also a two-time participant in medical missions to Hands of Hope in Kakata, Liberia. Josh told me he has driven from the US border to Belize and through as much of Mexico as he could see.   


Each of these experiences has expanded Josh’s worldview. Speaking of his travels, he said, “it also reinforced how fortunate I am to live where I do, know who I know, and be able to use my experiences for the betterment of those around me.” Most telling to me is that Josh told me that “my career is not my job, but my privilege.”  I asked him about his favorite surgery, and his response was, “the one that has the least complications with the best outcomes.” He continued by telling me, “I perform a wide breadth of general surgery, laparoscopic, open, endoscopic, diagnostic, and emergency, to either provide the best care possible or figure out who can. Prevention is my goal, but availability is the starting point to address everything else.”  


“My wife, daughter, and I love our animals and take pride and find joy in working together to keep those bonds close and strong,” said Josh. He’s also a rockhound from a diamond in Arkansas to fossil jellyfish in Illinois to arrowheads anywhere he can find them. He most enjoys the search. Josh and his wife are gardening enthusiasts and find solitude in self-sufficiency. He’s hand-built his greenhouse, sauna, and hay shed from reclaimed materials and his imaginative touch. Josh said, “I think St. Luke’s and Polk County will provide my family and me many opportunities from the familiarity of a small community, beautiful setting, and great college options for our daughter. And the team at St Luke’s met me with open arms and gave me the sense that we will be able to do great things for our patients, their families, and the surrounding community.”


So, if faced with a need for general surgery, or a screening colonoscopy, have your provider refer you to Dr. Knolhoff at (828) 894-5627. You will find him to be one of the best surgeons you will find anywhere, and his bedside manner is second to none. To learn more, visit StLukesNC.org/surgery.


Please join me in giving Dr. Joshua Knolhoff and his family a huge Polk County welcome.


If you have a healthcare topic of interest or want to learn more about St. Luke’s Hospital, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or visit our website at StLukesNC.org.