Growing up in Greece, Athanassios Petrotos, MD, remembers learning about the first heart transplant in the United States and being amazed. He told his sister, a gynecologist, that he wanted to be a surgeon and also maybe specialize in trauma.
“My sister said to me, ‘This is all good, but I don’t know if you will be able to do any of this work in our tiny town,’” Dr. Petrotos recalls. “And then the next catalytic moment was after I got my medical degree and I was in the Greek Army. I was assigned to a NATO hospital in Italy after the first Gulf War. I walked into the emergency room and saw the immensity of the resources and diversity of personnel. This experience solidified my decision to come to the USA for training.”
Dr. Petrotos now specializes in elective general surgery, emergency general surgery, and trauma. He is the medical director of trauma at Greenwich Hospital. He takes care of everything from trauma patients to people who need emergency abdominal surgery or elective procedures like hernia repairs and gallbladder removals. Dr. Petrotos is also operating using robotic, minimally invasive techniques.
He has a simple answer to what he likes best about his chosen craft. “I go to work and I don’t know what I’m going to find and I love that,” he says, adding that his “favorite” major surgery is the next one.
Dr. Petrotos considers building a good rapport with a patient an art. “It’s something that takes years to master. It doesn’t come overnight,” he says. “The most important aspect is to always be kind, follow the acuityof the situation, and, help the patients understand their condition and the management thereafter.”