Dr. Olivia Coiculescu sees her realm of medicine as a vast sea where each day the distant horizon offers the possibility of new discovery.
These new worlds and hidden civilizations that Dr. Coiculescu envisions are the unraveling mysteries and continued challenges in the field of neurology – the study of the brain and the central nervous system.
“It’s wonderful,” she says of her field. “I know doctors in other fields might say the same thing about their work, but I find neurology to be the most interesting area of medicine. It’s one of the few parts of the human physiology that is still not well understood – the brain and the central nervous system.”
Dr. Coiculescu arrived at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital as a new outpatient neurologist this past September and since then has been busy seeing patients at her Montauk Avenue office.
A glimpse into the unsolved mysteries of her field requires no more than a look at the types of cases she sees during a typical week: patients who may have epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches and strokes. She also treats patients with polyneuropathy, a condition where nerves throughout much of the body malfunction simultaneously, causing a variety of symptoms.
“In the case of so many of these conditions, there is still so much that is open to discovery and new knowledge,” Dr. Coiculescu says. “In some fields, you just have to follow the steps of previous doctors, but we are always learning new things about the brain. And each case I see is unique. The patient population here is very diverse.”
Dr. Coiculescu grew up in Romania. She attended the University of Craiova for medical school, then came to the United States, where she earned a Master’s of Health Education at the University of New Mexico. She followed that accomplishment by earning a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of North Texas, and then moved to Albany, NY, for a residency in neurology at Albany Medical Center.
She practiced medicine in Kentucky for three years before her recent arrival at L+M. She and her husband decided to make the move to southeastern Connecticut because it offered a special blend of professional opportunity and quality living.
“We love the East Coast,” she says. “We have family and friends here and we also like the weather, with milder winters, instead of like Albany. This is a wonderful place – a great combination of professional opportunities and a great environment.”
As part of that professional environment, Dr. Coiculescu notes that her patients can get all the testing they need by easily crossing the street to L+M Hospital, where EEGs, MRI, CT scans, nerve conductions and other diagnostic testing and tools are readily available. And, she notes, her office is fully connected to the hospital, which means patients can see their test results on a computer screen in her office.
“We’re electronically connected,” she says. “I know that if I had a brain MRI, I’d like to be able to see it. It’s a good thing for the patient. They have a fast feedback and they can see all the results of their tests right here in my office.”
Dr. Coiculescu also has an excellent working relationship with L+M’s inpatient neurologists, including those on L+M’s stroke team, ready and capable of administering clot-busting drugs to patients who are experiencing stroke.
“The neuro-hospitalists – Drs. Neer Zeevi, Daniel Moalli and Hellen Kim – see my patients when they have to be admitted to the hospital, and I see some of their patients when they are out of the hospital,” Dr. Coiculescu says. “It’s a great working relationship.”
All in all, Dr. Coiculescu says her first three months at L+M have been very challenging – and also very satisfying.
“I think this is a wonderful place to be practicing medicine,” she says.
To learn more about Dr. Coiculescu, click here.