They shared a womb, attended the same high school and graduated from the same college. Now joining their mom’s longstanding medical practice, three identical triplets, all OB-GYNs, have united to create possibly the most unique doctor’s office in South Florida.
Dr. Janet Gersten for years had raved to patients about her daughters — Vicky, Sarah and Joanna Bedell. Now her patients — and many more — finally can meet and be treated by them.
“I would always tell my patients I had daughters who were doctors, then daughters who were OB-GYNs,” Gersten said. “Then, finally, a year and a half ago, I got to tell them they were actually joining me.”
The sisters had gone to Ransom Everglades together, then Brandeis University in Boston, MA, where they specialized in obstetrics and gynecology.
After completing their medical residencies, they reunited at their mother’s renamed practice, New Age Women’s Health, located in a new two-story, 13,000-square-foot building Gersten recently bought in Kendall.
The building houses another aspect of Gersten’s practice: New Age Medical Research, which for 17 years has conducted clinical trials in women’s health.
“They’re very separate businesses,” she said. “The building has been customized to our needs for the research business and the practice, and there’s room to grow for other practitioners. We want to stay there for many years.”
The sisters are virtually identical but for minor differences in height and hairstyle — Vicky is 5-foot-11, Sarah is 5-foot-10-1/2 and Joanna is 5-foot-9. Each gravitated to obstetrics and gynecology differently.
Vicky was open-minded, but didn’t make a final decision until her third year of medical school. Joanna knew she wanted to practice medicine, but was reluctant to go into a field that involved surgery. Sarah, on the other hand, knew early on it was what she wanted to do.
“I liked it,” Sarah said. “I hadn’t really encountered a part [I didn’t like] in discussing it with my parents. And we had spent some time going to work with our mom on the weekends and would help her out in her office.”
The triplets first saw their mother deliver a baby at Baptist Hospital when they were 8 years old. She and her daughters had been out shopping, and the family nanny was unavailable. The experience, they agreed, was unforgettable.
“I said, ‘Hey, do you want to come in and see a delivery?’” Gersten said. “And it was okay with the patient. They came, and I remember afterwards they were like, ‘Mommy, my tummy hurts.’ It’s really something to witness.”
As they grew up, she let them shadow her during hospital rounds and have them help around the office. A longtime advocate for a woman’s right to quality care and reproductive freedom, she was instrumental in Baptist Hospital staffing its board with medical practitioners where before it had none. She passed these values and standards onto her daughters.
Their father, Dr. Robert Bedell, was also an OB-GYN with a successful Miami Beach practice. The two divorced when the triplets were in elementary school. He had come out of retirement and was working in hospice in Central Florida when he died in a car accident in October 2013.
“He instilled in us the same motivation to help patients, be good at what we do and to have that urge to work and contribute,” Joanna said. “Both of our parents are totally self-made and came from humble beginnings, and he definitely enjoyed being a doctor.”
In the wake of his death, the three sisters chose to forego pursuing the subspecialties after their residencies. Had they pursued them, it would have prolonged their separation for three more years.
“We needed to get back to the people we loved and felt comfortable with,” Vicky said in an interview that appeared in Dr. Oz The Good Life.
By now, news of this unique medical practice has spread far and wide. Gersten and her daughters have been featured by several national media outlets, including a high-profile appearance on The Rachel Ray Show.
Gersten, who began practice in 1983, stopped delivering babies in 2000. She now solely practices office gynecology and research. In the next few years, she plans to retire and hand the business to her daughters.
“The idea is to have a group practice with the three of them and have other doctors join them,” she said. “We invested in a building; it’s been customized to fit our needs for the practice and research business, and there’s room to grow there for other practitioners.”
New Age Women’s Health is located at 8900 SW 117 Ave. For more information, call 305-274-6002.