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Bruce Springsteen famously sang, “You can’t start a fire without a spark.” For Freehold resident Mary Beth Wilson, that spark came in the form of emergency hernia surgery.

Mary Beth, 52, an avid Springsteen fan, had been overweight for most of her life. She had struggled for years to get her weight under control. In June 2017, while at her heaviest, her life changed dramatically. During a vacation in Maine, Mary Beth woke up with pain so intense that she and her husband, Charlie, rushed back to New Jersey—and straight to CentraState’s Emergency Department. There, she met Val Prokurat, MD, DO, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon who was on call that day.

Mary Beth had a history of abdominal hernias, which occur when a hole develops through the abdominal wall. Part of her small intestine had become trapped in the hole, creating a bowel obstruction and a life-threatening situation. Her health began to decline rapidly. Dr. Prokurat performed an emergency hernia repair, and during her recovery, explained that she would probably develop another hernia due to her weight. Mary Beth also was suffering from diabetes, hypertension, chronic lower back pain, and varicose vein disease, all of which can significantly improve after bariatric surgery.


“When you take a challenge, make the impossible possible and turn your life into an inspiring journey! Thank you Mary Beth for sharing your incredible story!

Continue encouraging, motivating and inspiring others. Be strong & remind us that better days are yet to come!”

-Dr. Prokurat’s Team

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