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Danbury Hospital Welcomes Displaced Surgical Residents from St Vincents Hospital

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - Danbury, CT

Shawn Tittle

Six surgical residents whose training was interrupted by the recent closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York have found a home at Danbury Hospital’s new surgical residency program.

St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village closed last week after years of financial struggles, leaving thousands of people without work. Among the jobless were physicians on their way to becoming the next generation of surgeons.

“It would be a waste of national resources if these surgical residents couldn’t complete their training and go out to serve patients throughout various communities,” said Ramin Ahmadi, MD, Director of Medical Education at Danbury Hospital.

He said hospital officials “felt they had a responsibility” to assist the displaced physicians given the severe shortage of general surgeons throughout the country.

“We regret the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital, but being able to bring these talented, motivated young surgeons to Danbury Hospital’s new surgical residency program is really a win-win situation,” said Shawn Tittle, MD, FACS, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Associate Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Danbury Hospital.

Perfect timing brings opportunities

“The timing couldn’t have been more perfect,” said Andrew Cha, MD, a second-year surgical resident from St. Vincent Hospital who began working at Danbury Hospital this week.

Dr. Cha learned St. Vincent’s Hospital was eliminating its residency program just as Danbury Hospital received approval for a new surgical residency program. It’s the first time in 41 years the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education approves a new surgical residency program in Connecticut.

“Having gaps in your training can lead to questions when applying for board-certification, fellowships and other programs,” said Dr. Cha. “This could have been devastating to my career.”

But concern gave way to hope once he met Pierre Saldinger, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Director of the Surgical Residency Program, along with Dr. Tittle and the other attending physicians at Danbury Hospital.

“What impressed me right from the start was Danbury Hospital’s dedication to patient care,” said Dr. Cha. He was also encouraged by the institution’s commitment to post-graduate medical education.

“I left the interview thinking this will be a great surgical program under the tutelage and guidance of attending physicians who truly support residents. I know I’m in the right place.”

A fresh start in a familiar place

As a first-year surgical resident, Foula Kontonicolas, MD, knew she would face many challenges. But she never imagined she would need to start job-hunting as an intern.

Dr. Kontonicolas is glad the search led to Danbury Hospital—the place where she did her surgery rotation as a medical student at New York Medical College. “I loved it here,” she said. “It’s the reason I decided to become a surgeon. The attending physicians are great. Everybody enjoys teaching.”

She’s also grateful to work at a financially sound hospital “that operates so efficiently” with physicians, nurses and others dedicated to providing high-quality care. Gone is the “feeling of uncertainty” she experienced at St. Vincent’s Hospital. “I don’t think Danbury Hospital is going anywhere,” she said.

About Danbury Hospital

Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the Yale University School of Medicine, the Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center.

The hospital provides centers of excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, digestive disorders, radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management.

Medical staff members are board-certified in their specialties, and most serve on the faculty of the nation’s finest medical centers offering a higher level of experience.

Danbury Hospital is recognized by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement program (NSQIP) as one of 25 ACS NSQIP participating hospitals in the United States to achieve exemplary outcomes for surgical patient care.




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