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For Chevy Chase, Md., native Nicholas Kessides, MD, joining MedStar Washington Hospital Center as an attending physician in anesthesiology offered the best of all worlds. Not only was he returning home to friends and family, but he appreciated the opportunity to handle challenging cases, particularly those involving high-risk patients from underserved areas, and to develop professionally in his subspecialty of obstetric anesthesiology.
"Childbirth can be both physically and emotionally challenging for mothers, particularly if they’re facing a high-risk delivery,” Dr. Kessides explains. “This is where teamwork with colleagues in obstetrics and other specialties is so important—finding the safest way to make patients comfortable and help them through delivery.”
Dr. Kessides initially stayed close to home for his medical training, graduating from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, followed by an internship in Internal Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. It was then on to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis for his anesthesiology residency, where he stayed for a fellowship in Obstetric Anesthesiology at Washington University.
Benefit of the Anesthesiologist–Patient Relationship
An anesthesiologist’s patient relationship differs from that of other specialties, Dr. Kessides says, as it tends to be more focused on physiological and pharmacological details. “The emphasis is on helping them with an immediate, acute need,” he explains. “Though our interaction may be relatively brief, it’s nonetheless meaningful and rewarding.”
Dr. Kessides also enjoys teaching, a facet he hopes to expand at the Hospital Center and elsewhere. “I hope to help develop obstetric anesthesiology services at other MedStar hospitals, and perhaps to get involved in maternal mortality initiatives in the D.C. area,” he says.
Outside the Hospital
While Dr. Kessides knows the ins and outs of the nation’s capital, he enjoys exploring the city’s ever-growing range of food and cultural events. He also stays active with sports like volleyball, basketball, and running. And being a bit of a history buff, “I’ll do ‘touristy’ things too like visiting museums,” he says.