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When Scott Frank, MD, interviewed for a job as attending anesthesiologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in 2005, he asked Eileen Begin, MD, now the department’s chair, why she had stayed there.
"She told me that she would be bored anywhere else,” Dr. Frank recalls. “It’s been the same for me. It’s an exciting challenge every day, to stay on top of it all.”
Indeed, free time appears only rarely in Dr. Frank’s daily schedule. In addition to working with patients as they prepare for and undergo surgery, the Buffalo, N.Y., native serves as medical director for the Hospital Center’s 3rd Floor Operating Room, and oversees anesthesia for Code Blue and Code One stroke services. Dr. Frank also participates on numerous committees, focused on topics as diverse as perioperative governance and biohazard responses.
“I do a lot of everything,” he notes with a laugh.
Choosing to Pursue Medicine
Dr. Frank might well have applied his multitasking skills to finance, his undergraduate study, had he not been visiting Germany as an exchange student when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
"That experience fundamentally changed my view of the world. It made me think there were other ways I could do good, rather than manage money,” Dr. Frank says.
Returning home to work for his father’s environmental consulting firm, Dr. Frank took some science classes and began thinking that medicine might be his calling. He became a paramedic, and later enrolled in medical school at SUNY Buffalo. Dr. Frank’s original plan to pursue a surgical specialty eventually evolved into a career in anesthesiology, a discipline he feels is better suited to his skills and interests.
“It’s a multidisciplinary specialty that involves patients who may be generally healthy, critically ill and everything in between,” Dr. Frank explains. “There are also Critical Care and ICU aspects—areas of medicine that I really enjoy. The only drawback is that I had to go back for training in areas that weren’t part of my surgical residency.”
The Value of Anesthesiology
Despite the many detours on his career path, Dr. Frank couldn’t be happier with his choice.
"Anesthesiology is a specialty that requires a lot of understanding and compassion,” he says. “You’re seeing a patient at a difficult time. To make them comfortable, you have to be both sensitive to their emotions, yet firm about getting them to where they need to be.”
While the anesthesiologist’s role in surgical cases is sometimes overlooked, “once patients meet us, they usually recognize and appreciate the role we play in their care.”
Life Outside the Hospital
There’s very little spare time in Dr. Frank’s life away from the Hospital Center. An avid cyclist, he participates in multiday cycling tours, as well as several one-day century rides a year. He also dabbles in cooking—French is his current focus—scuba diving, coin collecting and music.
“I’ve played guitar and bass since my college days,” Dr. Frank says, lamenting that those instruments have sat idle for the last several months. “I just haven’t been able to find the time.”