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ONE OF MY TOUGHEST CASES: Saving A Sniper Victim
Louis Cucinotta, M.D., F.A.C.S.
3434 Houma Blvd., Suite 201
53 years in practice
B.S. Zoology from Tulane University
M.D. Louisiana State University Medical School
Native of Brooklyn, New York
At the age of 4, Louis Cucinotta was already working in medicine.
“My father was a general practitioner back in 1937 in Brooklyn, and he worked from home,” he says. “The first two large rooms in the front of our house were his office. He even did surgery there, as many did back then. One of my earliest memories is carrying the boiled syringes over to him. I guess I kind of operated like a physician’s assistant.”
His father died that year.
“I was the sort of heir apparent,” he says. “I suppose after hearing the same question from everyone we knew thousands of times, ‘Are you going to be a doctor just like your father?’ I decided that wasn’t such a bad idea.”
After growing up in New Orleans, where they moved to be closer to his mother’s family, Cucinotta chose to specialize in ear, nose and throat.
He says his most difficult case came early in his career, while he was serving in the Army in Vietnam in 1968.
“I was working at the Army hospital when a soldier was brought in that had been shot in the neck by a sniper,” he says. “We had to give him 10 bottles of blood just to bring him back to life. He was bleeding from the base of his skull where his jugular vein had been shot. I had my finger in the hole to stop the bleeding.”
Unable to operate with one hand, Cucinotta was able to pack off the hole to stop the bleeding.
“Thirty years later this same man contacted me through the Army hospital’s website to thank me for saving his life,” he says. Over the years, the two became friends.
“His commanding officer wrote a book about the war called Through the Valley and he was quoted a lot in it,” Cucinotta says. “He wrote a dedication to me in it that says ‘I have only been shot once in my life and we shared that experience together.’”