BENNINGTON — Although struggling with staffing shortages and difficulty filling medical positions — like most hospitals across the country — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has hired a medical director of critical care, a new post to oversee and run the intensive care unit.
Dr. Disha Geriani, a pulmonologist who received her medical degree from Kasturba Medical College in Mangalore, India, also will see patients with problems related to lung function and perform bronchoscopy procedures, SVMC said.
“It’s great to have a new critical care position on site,” said Dr. Trey Dobson, chief medical officer of SVMC and an emergency medicine physician with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, on Wednesday. He said the hospital has had a pulmonologist on staff, “but not with the expertise in critical care.”
Geriani served her residency in internal medicine at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in New York. She did a pulmonary and critical care fellowship with Spectrum Health and Michigan State University. She is a board-certified critical care physician.
“I aspire to provide the kind of care to my patients that I would expect my own family members to have, and it is great to see all my colleagues sharing and striving for the same,” Geriani said in a statement.
She has been on staff since July, Dobson said.
Geriani is working with SVMC intensive care physicians and surgeons, Dartmouth-Hitchcock ICU physicians and staff via telemedicine, and the SVMC hospitalist to ensure the Bennington intensive care unit has the best policies, practices and up-to-date medical information at its fingertips.
“She’s had years of experience learning and running a critical care unit,” Dobson said. She can determine issues like how many ventilators the ICU needs, the best equipment for managing IV lines, and the most up-to-date medications and treatments for different illnesses and injuries. “That’s what her fellowship, training and board certification means.”
Dobson said he hopes the ICU will be able to handle cases that previously required a patient transfer for more acute care. He stressed that some patients still will have to be transferred, but gave as an example patients with severe cases of sepsis, who might no longer need to be sent elsewhere for care.
“She is providing a higher level of critical care medicine based on experience and training,” he said.
Dobson said the hospital continues to recruit for other positions — noting they recently hired an obstetrician/gynecologist and a general surgeon — but “recruiting has been very difficult.”
“We are keeping our heads above water.”