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Dr. Ashley Weisman
Meet Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s Emergency Department Care Team
When asked how she approaches rural emergency medicine, Dr. Ashley Weisman, one of the new emergency department physicians on staff at the Ticonderoga emergency department, is quick to put “rural” in perspective. “My experience in rural Alaska – where I was 550 miles from the nearest referral center with frequent bad weather limiting medical evacuation – prepared me to tackle any rural health emergency with a deep breath, all of my skills, a smile, and patience and gratitude for my patients and my team.”
While the North Country is a far cry from northwest Alaska, it is still, in the words of Dr. Weisman, a place where patients “live far away from the easy, infinite resources of big box stores, next-day delivery, and 100 take-out options for dinner.” Oftentimes, that translates into fewer resources when it comes to accessing medical care and navigating our complex medical system – a reality that calls for creativity on the part of the physician. One of her greatest satisfactions in her work, she says, is when she can “find a way to use the emergency department in a non-traditional way to help a patient,” particularly when it comes to social emergencies and addiction-related issues.
Dr. Weisman, a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Medical School, completed her residency training at Mass General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. After her training, she practiced emergency medicine in small rural, Native American hospitals in northwest Alaska and on the Navajo nation; in a big busy community hospital in Everett, Washington; and at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
She enjoys the broad scope of practice in emergency medicine, including primary care and addiction medicine, and she loves working and living in rural areas, especially ones with long winters. “So the University of Vermont Medical Center and the ECH Ticonderoga campus are a great fit for me,” she says.
Outside of the emergency department, Dr. Weisman is an avid skier, rock and ice climber and mountain runner, pastimes which led her to wilderness medicine. She trained as a search and rescue volunteer with Everett Mountain Rescue in Snohomish County, Washington, and completed a wilderness medicine fellowship at Mass General.
“For me, rural emergency care, wilderness search and rescue, and personal mountain adventures are all synergistic parts of the practice of wilderness medicine and will be essential to my work at ECH and UVM,” Dr. Weisman says. “I am preparing for stressful situations with limited resources at work every time I lead an ice climb in the Adirondacks and can use only what I have on my harness to safely navigate the route.” And again, it helps her put things in perspective. “This makes most situations in the warm, well-lit emergency room seem considerably more relaxing,” she laughs.
The COVID-19 pandemic is foremost on all of our minds, particularly when it comes to the decision to seek medical care. Your local emergency department team at the UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital urges patients to seek prompt medical care for accidents or illnesses – and especially when it comes to signs of heart attack or stroke.
Emergency departments and facilities across the University of Vermont Health Network have put added safety precautions in place to protect patients and staff – including temperature checks, plexi-glass partitions, screening questions for everyone entering the facility, and mandatory masks.
To learn more about how you can safely get the care you need, please visit www.ech.org.