1304 Somerville Rd.
Decatur, AL 35601
© 2011. Riverside Gastroenterology
1304 Somerville Rd., Decatur, AL 35601
A Gastroenterologist is a physician with dedicated training and unique experience in the management of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
Gastroenterology is the study of the normal function and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver. It involves a detailed understanding of the normal action (physiology) of the gastrointestinal organs including the movement of material through the stomach and intestine (motility), the digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body, removal of waste from the system, and the function of the liver as a digestive organ. It includes common and important conditions such as colon polyps and cancer, hepatitis, gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn), peptic ulcer disease, colitis, gallbladder and biliary tract disease, nutritional problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and pancreatitis. In essence, all normal activity and disease of the digestive organs is part of the study of Gastroenterology.
A Gastroenterologist must first complete a three-year Internal Medicine residency and is then eligible for additional specialized training (fellowship) in Gastroenterology. This fellowship is generally 2-3 years long so by the time Gastroenterologists have completed their training, they have had 5-6 years of additional specialized education following medical school. Gastroenterology fellowship training is an intense, rigorous program where future Gastroenterologists learn directly from nationally recognized experts in the field and develop a detailed understanding of gastrointestinal diseases. They learn how to evaluate patients with gastrointestinal complaints, treat a broad range of conditions, and provide recommendations to maintain health and prevent disease. They learn to care for patients in the office as well as in the hospital.
Gastroenterologists also receive dedicated training in endoscopy (upper endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy) by expert instructors. Endoscopy is the use of narrow, flexible lighted tubes with built-in video cameras, to visualize the inside of the intestinal tract. This specialized training includes detailed and intensive study of how and when to perform endoscopy, optimal methods to complete these tests safely and effectively, and the use of sedating medications to ensure the comfort and safety of patients. Gastroenterology trainees also learn how to perform advanced endoscopic procedures such as polypectomy (removal of colon polyps), esophageal and intestinal dilation (stretching of narrowed areas), and hemostasis (injection or cautery to stop bleeding). Importantly, Gastroenterologists learn how to properly interpret the findings and biopsy results of these studies in order to make appropriate recommendations to treat conditions and/or prevent cancer.
Some Gastroenterologists also receive directed training in advanced procedures using endoscopes such as endoscopic biliary examination (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP) and placement of internal drainage tubes (stents). This provides them with the training necessary to non-surgically remove stones in the bile ducts, evaluate and treat tumors of the gastrointestinal tract and liver, and provide minimally invasive alternatives to surgery for some patients. The most critical emphasis during the training period is attention to detail and incorporation of their comprehensive knowledge of the entire gastrointestinal tract to provide the highest quality endoscopy and consultative services. The final product is a highly trained specialist with a unique combination of broad scientific knowledge, general Internal Medicine training, superior endoscopic skills and experience, and the ability to integrate these elements to provide optimal health care for patients.
This advanced fellowship training is overseen by national societies committed to ensuring high quality and uniform education. These groups include the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. These groups carefully scrutinize the educational experience of each program to ensure that every Gastroenterology trainee receives the highest quality training. Once fellows successfully complete their training they are considered “Board Eligible.” They are then qualified to take the Gastroenterology board certification test administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Once they have successfully completed this examination they are “Board Certified.” Dr. Short is Board Certified in Internal Medicine for life, having scored in the top 10% in the United States during his examinations. He is also Board Certified in Gastroenterology and has trained with a world renowed specialist in ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography).
Dr. Thomas P. Short was born in Tampa, Florida. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University. He attended Ponce School of Medicine and graduated with honors, first in his medical school class, in 1984. He did his internship and residency from 1984 thru 1987 through the University of Virginia at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and the V.A. Medical Center in Salem, Va. He passed his Internal Medicine Boards in the top 10% of the nation.
From 1987 to 1990 he served the United States government for three years working for an underserved population in Ruskin, Florida. From 1990-1992 he did his fellowship in gastroenterology thru East Tennessee State University at the V.A. Medical Center in Johnson City, TN. In the summer of 1992 he went to Paris, France where he trained in ERCP with Dr. Claude Liguori, one of the top ERCP specialists in the world.
Dr. Short is Board Certified in Internal Medicine since 1987 and Board Certified in Gastroenterology since 1993. He has successfully performed over 20,000 endoscopies in 20 years of practice. He and his wife, Mayra, have four children and have resided in the South for the past 30 years. Six years ago the family moved to Alabama and are very happy to call it home.