One Big Happy Family
Families who come to Baylor Scott & White for quality women ’ s care find compassionate professionals who put patients at the center of all they do .
s Robert T . Gunby , MD , reflects on a career 50 years and counting ,
he focuses on the gratitude he feels to be a part of so many families ’ most important moments . It ’ s a legacy that
Christy Littrell , MD , who has been named chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor University Medical Center , continues
as she pushes for continuous improvement while keeping the human touch — just like her mentor and friend , Dr . Gunby .
Family man : Dr . Robert T . Gunby
From a man who has delivered babies for more than 50 years — who has lovingly and skillfully helped mothers birth more than
7,000 babies — it ’ s surprising to hear that Robert T . Gunby , MD , did not plan to practice obstetrics and gynecology ( OB-GYN ).
“ I thought it was boring !” he laughed . During his medical school rotations through labor and delivery , he was tasked with taking blood pressure and recording contractions , so Dr . Gunby was instead drawn to surgery , an area where he felt his dedication and skill could be put to better use .
But fate and Dr . Reuben Adams intervened . When Dr . Gunby arrived to Baylor University Medical Center in 1971 for his residency , Dr . Adams — husband to Lindalyn Adams and chief of OB-GYN at Baylor for many decades — persuaded Dr . Gunby to pursue OB-GYN instead of surgery . “ Dr . Adams said , ‘ You really need to change because you obviously enjoy this , and I think this is something you would enjoy lifelong .’ I took his advice and I ’ ve never looked back .”
Practicing for more than five decades has provided some unique opportunities for the well-loved OB-GYN physician and assistant chief of OB-GYN at BUMC , whose humble demeanor and generous nature draw patients to him .
“ I have one family for whom I have cared for five generations of women ,” he said , a catch in his voice giving away how much it means to him . “ I just delivered another baby and , with that , it ’ s five . To have participated in five generations of one family just doesn ’ t seem possible .” He receives dozens of cards and pictures from his patient families around the holidays , all of which touch Dr . Gunby .
“ It ’ s like you become a part of their family ,” Dr . Gunby said of his experience in OB-GYN . “ You celebrate their joys and sometimes their sadness . It ’ s a personal practice , and you get to know your patients .” When Dr . Gunby began practicing medicine in the early 1970s , the approach to care for delivering babies was “ very different — so different ” than it is today , he said . Fetal heart monitors and sonogram machines had not yet been put into wide practice , mothers were often given anesthesia to sleep through delivery , and fathers were not allowed in the delivery room . “ Now , we ’ re transplanting the uterus and allowing a woman who couldn ’ t carry babies to have babies ,” he said .
The first baby born in the U . S . to a mother with a transplanted uterus was delivered by Dr . Gunby at BUMC . This program is the only one in the U . S . to deliver babies using uteri from both living and deceased donors , and the first in the nation to successfully deliver two babies from one transplanted uterus . Now the only U . S . program offering uterus transplant outside of a clinical trial , it offers hope to even more women with absolute uterine factor infertility who want to deliver their own babies .
“ No one else had delivered in the U . S . before — now we ’ ve delivered 14 ,” Dr . Gunby said of his first uterus transplant delivery . “ His mother sends me pictures almost weekly . I feel like an honorary grandparent !” He joked that he sees more pictures of that child than he does his own grandchildren , with whom he is very close . More than 30 years ago , Dr . Gunby also delivered the first baby born to a liver transplant recipient , and he takes joy in saying that the baby has just had a baby of
THE COMPASS / BAYLOR SCOTT & WHITE FOUNDATION NEWS / WINTER 2021