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Dr. Ouaknine to leave Samaritan Urology, more urologists recruited

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One is the loneliest number again for Samaritan Medical Center’s urology department, but not for long.

Dr. Simon Ouaknine recently announced he would leave Samaritan Urology Center, 19324 Route 11, by month’s end, which would leave one doctor — Alejandro R. Rodriguez — at the practice. That is a similar scenario to what Samaritan faced in 2011 when Drs. Seetharaman Ashok and David Butters left the practice. At that time, Dr. Ouaknine was the only urologist in town.

“Urology is one of those specialties that’s difficult to recruit for because it takes an extended period of time to get them here,” said Krista A. Kittle, Samaritan spokeswoman. “I think it’s a high-demand specialty across the country, so we’re competing with hospitals all over the country.”

Dr. Rodriguez, who is also the hospital’s director of robotics and minimally invasive surgery, will be the only urologist until next summer, when two other specialists join Samaritan Urology. Ms. Kittle said Samaritan has signed contracts with Dr. Kevin L. Chandler, urology resident at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, and Dr. Winifred Adams-Owumi, a urology fellow at Stanford University in California.

Dr. Chandler, who is robotics trained, and Dr. Adams-Owumi, who specializes in pediatric urology, will join Samaritan Urology in August 2014. Ms. Kittle said other urologists are in the pipeline. The hospital’s goal is to have at least four.

Since Samaritan will have a full complement of urologists next year, Ms. Kittle said, it has hired a nurse practitioner and part-time physician assistant to work alongside Dr. Rodriguez, beginning in October.

Ms. Kittle said Samaritan is thrilled to add pediatric urology as another subspecialty at the hospital, 830 Washington St. She said that will save local residents time and money, as they won’t have to have the expense of traveling to Syracuse for such appointments.

Dr. Ouaknine will leave Friday to relocate his family out of the north country. He did not return several calls seeking comment this week.

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