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(Photo courtesy: Tri City Medical Center)

Tri-City Medical Center Renames Key Emergency Department Room to Honor Nation’s Longest Serving Emergency Physician

Dr. Stephen Karas recognized for 45 years of service to Coastal North County community

Oceanside CATri-City Medical Center announced that it has dedicated its Emergency Department resuscitation room in honor of Dr. Stephen Karas, MD, FACEP, the Medical Center’s former director of the Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Stephen Karas has been committed to the Tri-City community for over 45 years since joining as an Emergency Department physician in 1975. In 2017, after 42 years at the hospital, Dr. Karas received the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Tenure Award for holding the longest active career in the same Emergency

Dr. Stephen Karas (Photo courtesy: Tri City Medical Center)

Department in the continental United States. It’s estimated that Dr. Karas participated in more than 2,000 life-saving resuscitations over a 45-year career in the Emergency Department at Tri-City Medical Center. Dr. Karas retired in March of this year.

“Dr. Karas has become an inspiration throughout the Medical Center and the Tri-City community,” said Tri-City Medical Center CEO Steve Dietlin. “Naming the resuscitation room in his honor will cement his legacy for generations to come. On behalf of our entire Tri-City Medical Center family and the broader Tri-City community, we’re forever grateful for the lives he’s saved and the families he’s touched over his four and a half decades with us.”

The community’s gratitude toward Dr. Karas and his team never goes unnoticed. Reflecting on a recent interaction, Dr. Karas shared, “A patient came into the Emergency Department in cardiac arrest and the team and I were able to restart the patient’s heart, but he remained in a coma. We decided to treat the patient with therapeutic hypothermia, a relatively new treatment, in which we lower the body’s core temperature to reduce brain damage. Amazingly, the patient regained consciousness and walked out of the hospital two weeks later, first stopping by the Emergency Department to shake my hand. That was a memorable experience.”

Dr. Karas is thankful for spending his entire career at Tri-City Medical Center because the hospital supports physicians and allows them to grow and practice medicine in a team environment.

“I chose Tri-City Medical Center back in 1975 because of the incredibly warm and welcoming staff. It seemed like a place where I could grow in emergency medicine, which turned out to be absolutely true,” said Dr. Karas. “It is an incredible honor to have the resuscitation room dedicated in my name, and for the continuous support of the Medical Center’s board of directors, administration, physicians, nurses and staff. I have felt so supported by all of them throughout my career. Tri-City Medical Center has been an incredibly positive and supportive environment.”

Dr. Karas has also served as a mentor to physicians, residents and paramedics and was instrumental in the development of a physician training partnership with both UC San Diego and the Navy. He also worked closely with the nursing staff to teach the first paramedics in the early years of paramedicine, including establishing Oceanside as one of the first cities in San Diego County to staff ambulances with paramedics.

Dr. Gene Ma, a longtime Emergency Room physician at Tri-City Medical Center and current Chief Medical Officer, was one of the residents who rotated through the medical center and credits Dr. Karas as being instrumental in his growth as a physician.

“Dr. Karas has been an inspiration throughout my career at Tri-City Medical Center, and his impact on both our team and the community at large is immeasurable,” said Dr. Ma. “During my residency, he mentored me and helped me become the physician I am today.”


About Tri-City Medical Center

Tri-City Medical Center has served our community for nearly 60 years and is one of the largest employers in North San Diego County. As a full-service acute care hospital with three primary care clinics and over 500 physicians practicing in over 60 specialties, Tri-City is vital to the well-being of our community and serves as a healthcare safety net for many of our citizens. The hospital has received a Gold Seal of Approval® from the Joint Commission showcasing a commitment to safe and effective patient care for the residents of the community.

Tri-City Medical Center prides itself on being the home to leading orthopedic, spine and cardiovascular health services while also specializing in world-class women’s health, robotic surgery, cancer and emergency care. Tri-City’s Emergency Department is there for your loved ones in their time of need and is highly regarded for our heart attack and stroke treatment programs. When minutes matter Tri-City is your source for quality compassionate care close to home. The hospital operates the only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in North County. Tri-City partners with over 50 local non-profit and community organizations as part of our COASTAL Commitment initiative. Together we are helping tackle some of our communities’ pressing health and social needs.

For more information about Tri-City Medical Center and Tri-City Healthcare District, please visit tricitymed.org.