Edward T. Chory, M.D., and his daughter, Fiona M. Gaunay, M.D., practice together at LG Health Physicians Surgical Group.
Edward T. Chory, M.D., gently discouraged his daughter from becoming a surgeon.
“The lifestyle of a surgeon is tough,” he said. “You make a lot of sacrifices.”
Fiona M. Gaunay, M.D., became a surgeon despite her father’s well-intentioned advice. She also joined his practice, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Surgical Group.
Growing up, Dr. Gaunay saw how much her father worked. The family often visited him on call and ate dinner at 8 or 9 p.m. so he could join them. She also saw how much he enjoyed his work.
So she took another piece of his advice: Do what you love.
Dr. Chory and his wife Mary welcomed triplets – Eamon, Fiona and Megan – when he was a resident in New York City. The family moved to Lancaster in 1991, after Dr. Chory stumbled on a classified ad for a surgeon and was impressed by the caring people and spotless hospital.
As a child, Dr. Gaunay was interested in math and science, and known for keeping a neat and orderly closet. But she wasn’t sure she wanted to become a doctor until she got to college, and even then, she was leaning toward family medicine.
“I certainly didn’t want to do surgery,” she said.
That changed after she took a cadaver lab in medical school. Surgery soon became the only specialty she could imagine happily practicing for the rest of her life.
She and her father chose surgery for the same reason: “You see people with problems that you can fix and make their lives better,” said Dr. Chory, a general surgeon.
Dr. Gaunay, who specializes in colorectal surgery, joined the Surgical Group in November. Dr. Chory notes that his partners, Steven Parker, M.D., and Fritz Heinle, M.D., also have children who practice medicine locally.
Dr. Gaunay and her husband, Geoff, a urologist, are the parents of Luke, age 10 months. “I couldn’t be a surgeon without Geoff’s support,” she said. “We have a mutual understanding and appreciation for what each of us does at work and at home.”
The Chorys’ son Eamon is a dentist married to an OB-GYN; daughter Megan is a teacher. They like to take family trips to Cape May, New Jersey, which are pretty chaotic with five grandchildren under age 5.
Drs. Chory and Gaunay try not to talk about work too much outside of the hospital. At work, father and daughter are known for being chatty with patients, and colleagues often are amused by the dynamic between the two of them.
Dr. Gaunay appreciates being able to ask her dad’s advice on a patient. “He’s like a conscience, but with a real voice,” she said. “I know that he gets it.”
For his part, Dr. Chory said, “She teaches me as much or more than I teach her.
“When someone tells me how good of a surgeon she is, and how well she treats patients and the staff, that makes me a pretty proud father.”
- Read blogs by Dr. Chory on surgical options for breast cancer and Dr. Gaunay on colon cancer prevention.