Identical Triplets Follow in the Footsteps of Their Trailblazing Mom — And All Become OB-GYNs in the Same Practice
Identical triplets make it a true family practice when they join their mother delivering babies.
“They saw the work I did as interesting, and I always included them in what I was doing,” remembers Dr. Janet Gersten. She’s talking about her identical triplet daughters, Joanna, Vicky and Sarah Bedell. When they were born, their mother was running her own practice and knew of only one other female doctor delivering babies at the local hospital.
It wasn’t always easy being a female doctor in a male-dominated specialty — nor was it easy being a working mom to triplets — but Gersten did it with style and grace. She was an excellent example to her daughters on how to juggle many roles.
The First Time the Triplets Saw a Baby Being Born
The girls remember the first time they saw a birth in person.
They were shopping at the mall when their mother got called into work for an emergency. They had to tag along. While the birth was awe-inspiring for all three girls, what they each took away from the experience was very different.
“I remember my mom being very collected and having confident control of the situation, which was very cool to watch,” Sarah said.
Her sister Vicky remembers trying to stay out of the way, plastered against a wall while she listened to the birthing mother curse and scream.
Joanna remembers three distinct things about that day: “One, I did not expect the baby’s head to be so big. Two, it was the first time I ever felt like I was going to faint. And three, I definitely don’t want to be an OB-GYN.”
Identical Triplets Choose Obstetrics
And yet, as the girls grew older, the idea became more and more appealing.
Today, the triplets are all OB-GYNs. And they practice alongside their mother at New Age Women’s Health in Miami, Florida. But why did they all choose obstetrics? “It’s a very good mix of primary care, surgery, procedures and being able to care for patients through many phases of their lives,” said Joanna. “And we all know that men make the worst patients!”
Each of the Bedell sisters completed her residency in a different state and has chosen a different specialty.
“I see patients with vulvar skin conditions and sexual dysfunction, Vicky usually does our surgeries, and Joanna typically provides miscarriage and pregnancy termination care,” Sarah explained. Yet when it was time to set up practice, they knew they wanted to be together. It was a conscious choice, made in the wake of their father’s tragic death.
Tragedy Brings One Family Together
Dr. Robert Bedell, the girls’ father, was also an OB-GYN in Miami. “Soon into our intern year, our father passed away in a car accident,” said Vicky. “His funeral was the first time we all headed back to Florida since our residency started. When this happened, we all realized just how important it is to stay together as a family.” The girls finished their studies and went to work with their mom.
“I love that we’re all on the same team,” said Joanna. The girls say it’s easy to work together since they are guided by a principle taught to all of them from a very young age: treat others the way you want to be treated. They naturally extend this value to their patients.
Luckiest Mother in the World
Gersten considers herself to be one of the luckiest mothers in the world to be able to work with her daughters day in and day out. “I never would have even dreamed about it. It would have been too good to be true.” And yet it happened: three Dr. Bedells working with their trailblazing mother, Dr. Gersten. To avoid confusion, the girls go by Dr. Vicky, Dr. Sarah and Dr. Joanna in the office.
Another perk of working together is that babies that Dr. Gersten delivered have since grown up and become mothers whose babies the identical triplets deliver. It’s a family business for more than one family, a unique situation greatly appreciated both by the four doctors and they families they serve.
In 2000, Dr. Gersten founded a clinical research company in the same building as her clinic. The Bedell sisters recently made an announcement on Instagram that they are going to wind down their obstetrics practice to focus more on research and gynaecology.
The research deals with new treatments and therapies for gynaecological problems, and the girls are happy that participation in the clinical trials makes health care more affordable for those without insurance. “It’s a great way for women to help other women,” said Vicky.
This may be the first-ever instance of triplet sisters going into the same medical practice with their mom, but it was a decision that was easy for this family-focused quartet.
“I know we made the right decision,” says Vicky.
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