Top Doctors 2011 Profile: Marc Tack, M.D., Infectious Diseases in Kingston
A beacon of hope for infectious disease survivors
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Tack, who is board-certified in infectious disease, says the field covers a lot of territory. “We do a tremendous amount of work with Lyme disease, as well as conditions like MRSA (a resistant form of staph infection), hepatitis C, HIV, and AIDS.
“What I love most is being in the room with a patient, trying to figure out what’s wrong and to get them better. I love that challenge. Every day and every season is different, with new bacteria, new viruses. And every patient is different, too — one might have HIV, then I might see someone with diabetes; then someone with a foot infection, or someone worried about tuberculosis; or a person with the flu, then a patient with Lyme disease.”
HIV and AIDS treatment has taken a quantum leap since his St. Vincent’s days, Tack says. “We can now take what used to be a universally fatal disease and be able to treat people, offer most of them the potential to live a very long and quality life. We used to have to tell patients to get their life in order, because they were going to die. Now we can tell the majority of them, ‘Hang on, we’re going to get you better!’ ”
He recalls one HIV patient who’s still part of his life: “I first took care of her when she came off the streets of Brooklyn for drug rehab. She was tough as nails; diagnosed with HIV 17-and-a-half years ago. She’s been my patient the whole way through. Now she’s married. They’ve adopted a child, she graduated from college, and she works for the state doing drug counseling. She comes to my office and brings me pictures of her child. When I remember her from back in 1994, and her dramatic turnaround — it absolutely makes it all worthwhile.”
Tack is also a specialist in travel medicine. “I see both sides — doing a pre-travel evaluation to make sure people traveling in more primitive sections of the world have the best vaccines and preventative treatments and information,” he says. “Then, if they do return with illnesses or infections, I diagnose and treat them. We live in a very mobile world, so there’s a growing need for this. You can drive up to Albany or down to Newark or JFK airport and be in Southeast Asia, Africa, South and Central America very quickly. We’ve had patients come back from China with SARS. We dealt with the H1N1 outbreak for swine flu. Our work is always changing.”
With his jam-packed schedule — Tack also just finished a six-year term on his local school board — he likes to play tennis to unwind. He and his wife and three kids also love to travel.
One of the best things about living in the Valley, says Tack, is that it’s a boon for his patients. “I don’t want them to have to go to New York City or Boston to get the best treatment. I like being able to offer them the same level of care right here. We have access to the same labs, equipment, and medicines. We don’t have to transfer patients, and their families don’t have to drive an hour and a half or longer to see them. They can have a good quality of life right here at home.”
» Visit Medical Associates of the Hudson Valley in Kingston, Ulster County, NY
» Visit Kingston Hospital in Kingston, Ulster County, NY
» Visit Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, Ulster County, NY
» Visit Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, NY
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