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Longtime HaysMed physician relocating




A native of New England, Dr. Robert Bassett wanted to retire there.

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A native of New England, Dr. Robert Bassett wanted to retire there.

It turns out he and his wife will be making the move sooner than expected. After 18 years at Hays Medical Center, Bassett, an orthopedic surgeon, and Marilyn Ray, a radiologist, are moving to Claremont, N.H.

"It's so sad on some levels," Bassett said of his upcoming move. "We have this wonderful community of friends here. We've met a tremendous amount of really wonderful people."

Bassett stopped seeing patients in May but will be at HaysMed through June wrapping up, he said.

The couple is relocating to be closer to their daughter and only grandchild. Their daughter, Sarah, is moving to Boston to finish school.

Bassett said he and his wife could not imagine living so far away from their 5-year-old grandson. After two years of contemplation, they decided to make the move.

"We really decided we wanted to be a part of Aiden's life," Bassett said. "He's only going to be 5 once."

Things fell into place, and Bassett accepted a job at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont. He will continue working as an orthopedic surgeon, and his case load will be similar to his work in Hays, he said.

Ray also is hoping to continue her medical career at the hospital.

The couple lived on both sides of the country before eventually settling in the middle. Bassett went to medical school at Harvard University, and the couple began their careers in southern California. He was chief of the hand surgery service at the University of Southern California and later entered private practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The couple eventually settled in Hays and enjoyed raising their two children here, Bassett said. The couple also has a son, Tim, who lives in British Columbia.

Bassett said he has seen many changes since beginning work in Hays nearly two decades ago.

"Most of what I've learned in medical school and residency has changed -- the approaches to various surgeries, the technology used," he said. "When I was in residency, we did all of our surgeries open. Now we're doing many of them arthroscopically."

Bassett also helped bring several procedures to HaysMed, including total shoulder replacements, hand surgery and microsurgery. He also brought leech therapy, which helps remove excess blood, to the hospital, he said.

Shae Veach, vice president of regional operations at HaysMed, said the hospital is "keeping options open" for recruitment of an additional orthopedic surgeon following Bassett's departure. The remaining team of four surgeons will continue to provide comprehensive care, including the hand services previously provided by Bassett.

Leaving is bittersweet, Bassett said, noting he is looking forward to the new opportunity but will miss the people in Hays.

"Caring for the people of Hays has been a tremendously rewarding, gratifying, uplifting time," he said. "I'm leaving here grateful for all of the love and support and friendship of the community."