Identical triplets Joanna, Vicky and Sarah Bedell were 8 years old the first time they saw their mom, Dr. Janet Gersten, deliver a baby.
Now 36, Vicky recalls standing off “to the side against a wall,” and how the patient kept apologizing for cursing.
“I remember my mom being very collected and having confident control of the situation, which was very cool to watch,” Sarah told TODAY's Sheinelle Jones, in an interview before their May 12 appearance on TODAY.
Joanna was horrified.
“Three things definitely stick out in my mind,” she remembers. “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.”
Fast-forward to today: Not only are all three triplets doctors, they are all OB-GYNs, and they're in practice with their mother.
Gertsen says she never pushed her daughters to follow in her footsteps. Nevertheless, “I’m so proud of how things have worked out,” Gersten tells TODAY.
After completing their medical residencies in 2017, Vicky, Sarah and Joanna joined their mom in practice at New Age Women’s Health in Miami, Florida, where the focus is on gynecology and clinical research.
Each sister has their own 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 says.
Joanna, the one who was sure she never wanted to deliver babies, found herself gravitating towards gynecology and obstetrics while in medical school.
“It’s a very good mix of primary care, surgery, procedures and being able to care for patients through many phases of their lives,” Joanna says. “And we all know that men make the worst patients!”
Since they share the same last name, the doctors go by Dr. Joanna, Dr. Vicky and Dr. Sarah so their patients don't get confused.
Last year, the Bedells announced they would be shifting their focus to gynecology, and no longer be caring for pregnant patients. (Vicky, who is 35 weeks pregnant herself, said her sisters won’t be delivering her baby, either. As she explained on TODAY May 12, “Of course I would trust them with anything, but I want them to be there in a more of a sister or aunt role.”)
“While this is going to be a hard transition because we really loved taking care of all of our pregnant moms, we are able to focus more on other aspects of gynecology and women’s health,” the Bedell sisters wrote in a joint statement on Instagram. “We will also be able to put more time and effort into our medical research company where we help establish new treatments and therapies for common gynecological complaints."
Gersten founded a clinical research company in 2000, which she runs out of her Miami office building with Joanna, Sarah and Vicky. Clinical trials are a process that all medications must go through before getting approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Aside from the general requirements of the study, patients do not need insurance to be a part of them, and they get a lot of medical care — Pap smears, bloodwork, ultrasounds — at no cost,” Vicky explains. “It’s a great way for women to help other women!”
I love that we are all on the same team.
Vicky, Sarah and Joanna completed their residencies in different states (Missouri, Texas, and Massachusetts, respectively) and Gersten, 70, doesn’t take it for granted that she sees her family every day.
“I am one of the luckiest mothers around to be able to do that,” she says. Vicky, Sarah and Joanna feel the exact same way.
“I love that I don’t roll my eyes when I say I have to go to work,” Joanna says. “I love that we are all on the same team and that I trust them.”
In many ways, Vicky, Sarah and Joanna were born to be gynecologists. Their late father, Dr. Robert Bedell, was also a successful OB-GYN in Miami. (He and Gersten divorced when their daughters were in elementary school.)
“Soon into our intern year (in 2013) our father passed passed away in a car accident, and his funeral was the first time we all headed back to Florida since our residency started,” Vicky says. “When this happened, we all realized just how important it is to stay together as a family.”
“I know we made the right decision,” she adds.