The Doctors Are In: Anatomy of NWU’s future physicians

A little more at ease

When Beth Brady labored to deliver her daughter, the anesthesiologist making rounds was a Nebraska Wesleyan alumnus. After a shift change, the doctor who took over was also an alumnus. The pair of NWU anesthesiologists was in addition to Brady’s general practitioner—another Nebraska Wesleyan alumnus.

What did she make of the coincidence?

“Well, I had bigger things on my mind right then,” said Brady, who attended NWU in the late 1990s, then transferred to earn a degree in speech language pathology. But NWU came up in conversation with both anesthesiologists, and Brady said it helped put her at ease and increased her confidence throughout her labor.

That confidence became important during Dr. Vonn Roberts’ (’75) shift. As Brady’s labor progressed, it was clear that her baby “had cord issues,” as Brady put it. The obstetrician didn’t know whether the cord was wrapped, knotted or kinked, but something was causing the baby’s heart rate to drop alarmingly low during contractions.

In an instant, the delivery room filled with additional nurses and doctors. “We were so close [to delivering] and it was really still up in the air whether or not I’d need an emergency C-section.”
Dr. Roberts and his team were ready should a C-section be necessary; they could begin anesthetizing her in the hall on the way to surgery.

Brady described opening her eyes between contractions and looking around the tense delivery room. She could make out little more than a teal blur of scrubs and masks in the crowd around her. But she could discern Dr. Roberts, who was a good head taller than the others.

Focusing on him again put Brady a little more at ease. “I knew where he came from. It made me feel better in a scary situation. I knew he’d do a good job. I knew the people he worked with would do a good job, too.”

When the obstetrician told her, “You need to push this baby out right now,” she wasn’t afraid. “It was something I knew I could do.”

Brady didn’t need emergency surgery. And the people who helped her deliver her baby—the people who unwrapped the cord once, twice, three times from her daughter’s tiny neck—weren’t all Nebraska Wesleyan alumni.

But the trio of alumni physicians involved in Brady’s care begged the question: How many NWU alumni physicians are out there? And what is it about a Nebraska Wesleyan education that prepares them for the work they do?