Surgical tech, Army veteran works well under pressure

Derrick Newell, a surgical tech at IU Health Saxony says he’s learned to think on his feet.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes

When Derrick Newell relocated to Indianapolis four years ago it was his 14th move. He wanted to make it his last for a while. So he pursued a career that would challenge him and also allow him time to be home with his family.

Married to Tyeisha for eight years, he is the father to three sons and a daughter. A native of Michigan Town, Ind. Newell graduated from Clinton Central High School and joined the US Army where he met his wife. During his time of service he worked as a truck driver and was stationed in Oklahoma, Mississippi and New York. He also served in Korea and Iraq. It was his stint in the Middle East where Newell said he learned the importance of critical thinking.

“You’re under extreme pressure when you’re in firefights or ambush. If you can think with that going on, you can think in most situations,” said Newell.

In his role as a surgical tech, Newell works alongside orthopedic surgeons Drs. R. Michael Meneghini, Lucian C. Warth, and general surgeon Dr. Larry Stevens. He also works with various podiatry doctors who rotate through surgery.

“Derrick provides excellent patient care through his performance and dedication to his job. He holds himself accountable for the highest standards, something that earns him the respect of his colleagues and of myself personally. We are all very thankful to Derrick for his exemplary service to our patients and his service to our country,” said Dr. Meneghini.

Newell says the best part of his job is that he is constantly learning.

“When you’re in OR you’re constantly trying to stay two steps ahead of the doctor,” said Newell. “Repetition is the best learner for me. There are about 20 instruments every surgeon uses and then other instruments vary based on the procedure. In school we learned the basics of anatomy but in surgery we are seeing firsthand hip and join replacements and it’s fascinating.”

Newell’s supervisor Heather Pierce, clinical manager of surgical services says Newell is a humble and dedicated individual. “He has been invaluable with taking the lead with some of the new surgeons coming in and helping to precept new surgical technicians,” said Pierce.

More about Newell:

  • He wrestled in high school and now coaches one of his sons at Fall Creek Junior High.
  • His other hobby is traveling to different states playing on a 15-person paint ball team with his sons.