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Local Surgeon Earns ACS Re-Certification


For one local surgeon, successful re-certification as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons means more than passing a tough and thorough exam.

It’s all about putting the patient’s care in the forefront, says David J. Cloney, M.D. FACS.

Dr. Cloney, a Bayhealth Medical Center surgeon since 1997, sat for the computerized exam in December, but waited to six to eight weeks for the results.

“It’s a four hour exam on all facets of surgery, the A-to-Z of surgery,” he said. “Everybody has to have the same basic knowledge.”

Dr. Cloney noted that he did extensive preparation for the exam, and holding the Fellowship status requires continuing education and training as well.

This surgeon is also a teacher who serves as a clinical proctor for Physician Assistants from Drexel and Arcadia universities. In 2010, he received Drexel’s teaching excellence award in clinical rotations.

Nevertheless, preparing for the exam was not easy.

“I did a lot of study, a solid week of review plus 50 hours of lecture on CD and six months of study on my own. They ask you the basics of science, physiology and ethics. You have to interpret lab results. They give you scenarios, a lot of variation. I put a lot into it,” he said.

Dr. Cloney, who attended medical school at the University of Bologna in Italy and did his resident in Youngstown, Ohio, explains that medicine has changed since the first time he sat for this exam.

“When I was in training, laparoscopic surgery didn’t exist, or PET scans, tools that I didn’t have when I started,” he said.

Achieving Fellowship status benefits his patients.

“It’s good for everybody. There is a personal satisfaction in maintaining excellence after all these years, and it’s good for patients to know that I am at a high level. Not everyone passes. There is no guarantee. That’s one reason that it takes so long for the results. It’s an intensive evaluation,” he said.

“It goes with the patient-first philosophy I’ve always practiced.”

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice.

The College currently has approximately 78,000 members, including more than 4,000 Fellows in other countries, making it the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

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