Health Check: Dr. Michael Bonitati named top emergency care doctor
PROVIDENCE — Dr. Michael Bonitati is very familiar with the emergency department at Roger Williams Medical Center.
He's spent his whole career here, since 1986.
"I grew up in Providence," he said.
He was born at Providence Lying-In Hospital on Maude Street, which is now Women & Infants Hospital
"I tell people, 'Here I am, 55 years later, I've moved across the street,'" Bonitati said.
Bonitati said he didn't originally plan on getting into emergency medicine. He wanted to be an internist. But after six months, then a year, then another in the emergency room, he was hooked.
"I enjoyed being the first one to see the patient," he said. "I like that you see them initially before they've been medicated, before they've had any tests back, and you're trying to sort out what's going on."
Bonitati spends plenty of time with his patients, which co-workers said is not unusual.
"He's very caring, very gentle. He speaks very softly to the patients, just has a very nice way about him, doesn't make the patients feel like they're rushed," said Candace Wray, who is the clinical nurse manager in the ER.
Bonitati and Wray have a long history. They started at the same time.
"We all have a Rhode Island story here at Roger Williams," said Joanne Dooley, who works as a registered nurse at Roger Williams Medical Center. "My own mother was an RN here at Roger Williams as well and she worked alongside Dr. Bonitati's mom."
"When I was a kid, I think I was about, gosh, must be about 6, or 7 years old, my mom was studying to be an LPN and Joanne's mom used to be sitting at the kitchen table when I'd come home from school with their notebooks out," Bonitati said.
Bonitati doesn't speak a lick of Italian but is fluent in Spanish. It comes in handy with some of his patients.
But he remains humble, even after being named a top doc in the field of emergency care.
"I think there are so many emergency medical physicians in this state who are outstanding doctors," Bonitati said.
"Dr. Bonitati is a very, humble physician, but we all know Dr. Bonitati was a top doc in our minds long before the top doc award," Dooley said.
The two other emergency care physicians who were voted tops in the field by their peers are Dr. Gary Bubly from The Miriam Hospital and Dr. Brian Zink from both The Miriam Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital.