Meet Dr. Mark Hershey, Chairman of Critical Care Medicine
South Shore Health ushered in a new era with the opening of the Richard and Joann Aubut Critical Care Unit at South Shore Hospital back in October 2017. It is with great excitement that we announce the person who will lead the team into this new venture.
Mark Hershey, MD, was named Chairman of Critical Care Medicine shortly after the opening of the Aubut CCU, and he has been on campus getting to know his surroundings and his team as we look toward the future.
Dr. Hershey worked at Newton-Wellesley Hospital for more than two decades, where he most recently served as Associate Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology. He saw a fresh opportunity to join our health system, and he sat down to discuss his vision for critical care medicine and to tell us a little bit about himself.
What attracted you to the position at our health system?
It’s really an amazing opportunity. I had the greatest job in the world and people wondered why I would leave a place I was comfortable at for so long. But the concept of leading this group into the future is exciting. To me, it is the opportunity to take it to the next level professionally and clinically to help mold something with my colleagues. The new Aubut CCU is ideal to do so. With the current group of doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, respiratory, physical and occupational therapists, and other support colleagues, we will be able to provide care that is second to none.
What made you want to practice medicine?
I looked at it as a great job when I was younger. There was nobody in my family who was a doctor. I was a chemistry major, and I have a lot of chemistry people in my family. My father was a chemical engineer. My mother was a chemist. I realized about two or three years in that I have two choices here: I can become a PhD in chemistry or I could become a doctor. I felt that becoming a doctor was something I could feel good about. There wasn’t a major noble cause or calling for me. It turned out to be the greatest thing in the world.
Why did you choose critical care medicine?
I’ve always been involved in caring for ill patients, people whose health is unstable, families and patients who are maximally stressed. I find the practice of critical care so important because it’s the kind of care where you can make the most difference quickly.
What is your vision for the critical care platform at our health system?
The usual answer to this is to provide state of the art, evidenced based care to each patient. However, I want to go far beyond that. The care of a patient in the Intensive Care Unit is a “team sport.” It takes doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, nurse’s aides, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, dietitians, and transport and housekeeping to provide an environment that not only provides great care, but also emotional support to patients and families. We leverage the strengths of all specialties to improve the care of each patient. We care for patients with many difference cases, and we anticipate an increased volume of neurosurgical patients in the future.
What are you most passionate about outside of work?
I have run a medical mission to rural Peru for the last six years. Over this period, we have performed more than 300 general surgical operations on patients who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to get these procedures. Traveling to Peru also allows me the opportunity to see how others live. Although the people of Peru may have a little material wealth, the spiritual and emotional wealth they have is inspiring. When I return to the United States, I feel some of that emotional and spiritual wealth rubs off on me. Each year, as the usual stressors of life get to you, I look forward to my return to Peru to get rejuvenated again, and I believe that helps me in my work with my patients.