Dr. Ernest A. Gould, 68, a Washington surgeon and the director of oncology at the Washington Hospital Center, died of cardiac arrest Monday at his home in Chevy Chase.

Dr. Gould was clinical professor of surgery at the George Washington University medical school and was a trustee of the Washington Hospital Center, where he formerly served as chairman of the department of surgery and president of the medical staff.

He was a native of Basin, Wyo., and graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1935. Following his graduation from the George Washington University medical school in 1939, he completed his internship and surgical residency at the old Garfield Hospital in Washington, now part of the Washington Hospital Center.

During World War II, Dr. Gould served with the Army Medical Corps in North Africa and Italy, achieving the rank of major. Following the war, he finished his surgical training at the Lahey Clinic in Boston.

He returned to Washington in 1947 and established a general surgical practice.

Since 1966, the Washington Hospital Center has presented an award in Dr. Gould's name to its outstanding surgical resident. In 1965, he was awarded the St. George's Medal for outstanding contributions to cancer control from the Amerian Cancer Society.

Among the professional organizations of which Dr. Gould was a member were the American Board of Surgery, of which he was a diplomate, the American Thyroid Association, the Southern Surgical Association, the Southeastern Surgical Congress, of which he was a fellow, the Clinical Pathological Society, of which he had been president, the Academy of Surgery, of which he also had been president, and the American College of Surgeons, of which he was a fellow.

He was a member of the Cosmos Club the Columbia Country Club and the Corinthian Yacht Club.

Dr. Gould's survivors include his wife, Marilyn, of Chevy Chase; three daughters, Sandra Dixon of Redlands, Calif., Vickie Colburn of Miami, Fla., and Lynn Gould of Washington; two brothers, Raymond, of Honolulu, and Harold, of Washington, and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Needy Sick Fund at Washington Hospital Center, or to a charity of one's choice.