Patricia Rae Kennedy, MD, FACS, clinical director of the Saratoga Hospital Center for Breast Care, was named a People's Choice Award winner in CDPHP's 2021 Top Doctors List. New this year, CDPHP invited patients and peers to nominate providers in specialty practices.
John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP, is the president and CEO of CDPHP. He wrote a profile on Dr. Kennedy in honor of her recognition.
To say that Patricia Rae Kennedy, MD, is devoted to her work as a breast surgeon would be an understatement. In the early part of her career, she would often go to the hospital in the early morning hours so she could be there to change her patients' surgical dressing for the first time.
"I wanted to be there with them, in a quiet room, as they're waking up for the first time."
Kennedy, who now leads a team at Saratoga Hospital Center for Breast Care, says a lot has changed since then, including a more collaborative, team-based approach to care, as well as procedures that are often performed in an outpatient setting. Still, she remains immersed in her work, so much so that she often thinks about her patients while she's asleep.
"I dream about my patients a lot. If I have a surgery the next day, I will usually dream about it the night before."
Kennedy entered the field after completing her general surgery training on Long Island, where there is higher incidence of breast cancer. She was inspired by the work and went on to complete a fellowship at the Faulkner Breast Center.
"I never looked back. It's such a rewarding field because it's more than just surgery. You don't discharge patients after cancer surgery. You develop relationships. It's an honor to go on that journey with them."
Kennedy worries about the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on patients. She says a lot of women have delayed mammograms and doctor visits as a result of the pandemic. "Unfortunately, we have seen patients who skipped screenings and are now presenting with more advanced disease."
Even before the pandemic, Kennedy says it broke her heart to see patients who felt a lump and did not seek treatment because they feared the worst.
"The first thing I would say is not all lumps are cancer. Second, it's also important to know that most of my patients are survivors, and the sooner we can treat, the better the outcome."
The profile originally appeared on the blog on CDPHP's website.