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Nicola Kotchev, MD

Nicola Kotchev, MD

Attending Physician, Geriatrics
NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan

Providing Dignity to Senior Patients

Dr. Nicola Kotchev came of age in Bulgaria with a curiosity about life, the drive to make a difference and a sense of adventure that took him to Missouri after completing his medical education in 2004. Nearly 20 years later, he is a popular geriatrician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, widely admired for his even-keeled and compassionate care of patients as they struggle for dignity at the end of their lives.

To Dr. Kotchev, there are no magic cures in geriatrics, but there are magic words: You’re going home. “That’s a very big deal,” he says, “when you have an elderly person, and you’re able to take care of every single aspect of their needs without hurting them in the process and then send them home. Because that’s all they want. They don’t want to be in a nursing home or a hospital. They want to be home. This is like winning the battle. That is a good explanation of what we do in geriatrics.”

Dr. Kotchev began his career in orthopedics, training in spinal surgery and trauma in Bulgaria and France. But soon after coming to the United States, he developed his own serious orthopedic problem – a back injury that required spinal fusion and ended his surgical career. But those years also gave him a patient’s perspective. After a period working as a hospital technician and lab assistant in Missouri, he resumed and refocused his career, coming to New York for a residency in internal medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, followed by a fellowship in geriatrics at Montefiore Medical Center and stints as an attending physician there and at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

He joined Metropolitan in late 2019, just a couple of months before the onslaught of COVID overwhelmed the city’s hospitals and nursing homes. “It was very, very tough,” Dr. Kotchev said. “We had to constantly change staffing, operations and how we managed patients. We had to stretch our imaginations.”

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