Profile - Wilfred Carney MD
On becoming a surgeon: "I couldn't escape it," Dr. Wilfred Carney says with a laugh. "Surgery was always in the air at home. My father and grandfather were both surgeons." His grandfather had even founded a hospital that still bears his name, the Truesdale Clinic, in Dr. Carney's hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts. He has three siblings in medicine, including a sister in family practice in Glens Falls, New York.
On the other hand, Will Carney's decision to become a vascular surgeon was very much his own. "As I matured as a surgical resident, the vascular cases interested me more than others." In those days he mastered the traditional procedures in which surgeons saved limbs and lives by hand-sewing blood vessels damaged by trauma and disease. After earning a medical degree at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Dr. Carney completed his surgical residency at Tufts-New England Medical Center, then went on to a research year in Heidelberg, Germany, and a vascular fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
For many years he employed what he calls the standard "sew-it-up-and-repair approach," but today, as a board-certified vascular surgeon, Dr. Carney is expert in the new catheter-based field of vascular surgery. "It's completely different now, with stents, balloons, grafts and the minimally invasive repair of aneurysms. To be a part of that transformation was fun after 25 years of doing the same thing. Now there's less surgery time, fewer transfusions, shorter hospital stays, and shorter rehabilitation."
"It's almost like drive-through," says Dr. Carney. "Sometimes our patients go home the same day!"
As a vascular surgeon, he works in a wide range of anatomic territories involving the carotid in the neck, the arm, abdominal, and leg arteries, as well as procedures to enable access for hemodialysis.
Dr. Carney arrived in the Berkshires in early 2011 after many years of surgical practice affiliated with Brown University in Rhode Island. "I love the area," he says of the Berkshires. "And I jumped on the chance to bolster the vascular effort here at BMC and to work with the great group already here."
"I like being able to make a difference to people," says Dr. Carney. "And to be able to see the difference. With vascular procedures the changes are often not subtle or gradual. They can be quite dramatic. People come in severely threatened and we can often turn things around."
Dr. Carney moved to the area with his wife, who was born in Holyoke, and enjoys tennis, skiing, aviation, and boating.