Q&A: Physician of the Year Dr. Kiran Kuna on anesthesiology, misconceptions, living in Carroll

Dr. Kiran Kuna
Dr. Kiran Kuna (Courtesy photo)

Dr. Kiran Kuna thought working at Carroll Hospital would be a temporary stop on the way to somewhere else. Then he realized he had already arrived where he wanted to be. More than a decade after first coming to Carroll, Kuna is the hospital’s chief of anesthesiology and is a member of the hospital’s board of trustees.

In March, Kuna was named Carroll Hospital’s 2019 Physician of the Year.


The Times recently caught up with him to discuss what it means to him to be so honored, just what anesthesiologists do and what he likes about practicing in Carroll County.

Q: You were recently named Carroll Hospital’s Physician of the Year for 2019. How did you find out and how did you feel when you learned you were being recognized this way?

A: I was certainly surprised, and of course honored to be named Carroll Hospital’s Physician of the Year. Many other physicians were also truly deserving of this honor. It was a very humbling experience to be recognized in front of my colleagues and the hospital administration.

Q: What brought you to Carroll Hospital initially, and what was your education and career path that lead you here?

A: I originally came to Carroll Hospital when my wife was accepted to the University of Maryland for her cardiology fellowship. I intended for my position to be a temporary one, while she completed her training. Soon after starting, I quickly realized Carroll Hospital and Carroll County offered much of what I was seeking in a long-term job: outstanding physicians, highly skilled surgeons, dedicated nurses and a very supportive community. Finding this rare combination led me to keep my position, and my wife to start practicing at Carroll after completing her training.

Q: Tell us about your role at Carroll Hospital: How long have you been with the team and what does your job entail?

A: At Carroll I have the privilege of working with a team of both nurses anesthetists and anesthesiologists. Their combined experience, talents and dedication to the hospital and community is unwavering.

In addition, I have been given the opportunity to serve as the current chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology. Along with providing anesthesia support to our operating room and obstetrics patients, I have been deeply involved in the information technology development for our departments.

Q: Not everyone interacts with an anesthesiologist as much as, say, their primary care physician or even their surgeon prior to an operation. Are there any common misconceptions or questions people have about your field? Anything you really love about it or find challenging?

A: The field of anesthesiology is full of misconceptions. The most common is that anesthesiologists are not physicians. Anesthesiologists have completed medical school and at least an additional four years of residency.

The other misconception is that we “just knock people out.” While it is true that putting patients to sleep is an important part of our jobs, it is just a small piece of what we do. Our primary purpose is to keep people safe while they are having surgery. Despite only having a few minutes to meet with patients before surgery, we have already researched their full medical history, determined their risks, devised the safest anesthetic plan and coordinated their care with specialists and their surgeon. It is the “behind the scenes” aspect of the job that is most challenging and rewarding.

Q: After a decade, what keeps you here in Carroll County? Do you have a favorite aspect of practicing here? Living here?

A: I’ve found Carroll County to be a family-friendly place to raise a child, but also a rewarding community to be part of. I’ve been impressed by the commitment to the hospital and other organizations by members of the community, much more so than nearby cities.

As a member of the Carroll Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, I’ve had the honor of seeing other community leaders and business owners donate their time, money and expertise to help the hospital carry on its mission. The continuous outpouring of support by the public during local fundraisers is truly the definition of community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.