Veteran doctor at Baystate Health shares experience working during COVID-19

Hampden County

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A doctor at Baystate Medical Center is very familiar with Veterans Day, because he is a veteran himself.

Dr. Andrew Artenstein is the Chief Physician Executive and Chief Academic Officer at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. He has been leading the battle against COVID-19.

But before taking on the challenge of the coronavirus, Dr. Artenstein served 10 years as an Infectious Diseases physician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

“They are different animals but the one common element is service and sacrifice,” Artenstein said.

Because of his past, Veterans Day means a little more to Dr. Artenstein. His father was also an Infectious Diseases physician and vaccine research scientist who had also served in the same branch. He passed away in 1976 when Dr. Artenstein was in high school.

Now, Veterans Day is a time for reflection on his father’s life, his accomplishments, and their shared service experiences.

“I followed in those footsteps, it was a little bit self consciously, but nevertheless I became an Infectious Disease Specialist,” Dr. Artenstein told 22News. “I grew up with it, I loved it. I tread the same path that he tread. We were both at Walter Reed Medical Center and we were both at the Institute of Research there but we were separated by about 24 years.”

Baystate Health is home to more than 700 veterans. So needless to say, Veterans Day not only hits home for Dr. Artenstien but hundreds of staff members at the hospital.

“We made it a point here, too much of the credit of the organization, of devoting time on Veterans Day every year to taking stock of the veterans and their families who are part of our team,” Dr. Artenstein continued.

Dr. Artenstein told 22News he never had the opportunity to tell his father about his interest in serving before he passed away. But he recognizes that he would have been very proud to see how far he has come.

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