For as long as Amanda Graf, M.D., can remember, she and her family have spent Memorial Day weekend at a cabin in the same Ohio state park. But one weekend felt much different than the rest. As much as she wanted to celebrate the holiday and the anticipated arrivals of both her sister and sister-in-law’s babies, Dr. Graf and her husband, who were living in Colorado at the time and expecting their own bundle of joy, had recently found out their son would be born without his right hand. Knowing they would find support from their families and thinking they had nine more weeks until baby Andrew made his debut, they decided to make the trip and flew to Ohio. Much to their surprise, their little boy decided he would be born that weekend!
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Due to complications, Dr. Graf was rushed to a nearby hospital and then transferred to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, for close monitoring. “We sat at the hospital for a few days. Then suddenly things took a turn for the worse, and he was born by an emergency C-section. Dr. Tami Samiec, the doctor who was on call that night, saved my son’s life. She resuscitated him, and I will be forever grateful,” she shares.
Once her son was stable, the doctors felt safe transferring him to a NICU closer to home in Colorado, but not without a proper goodbye. “I remember walking in that last day and seeing that the nurses had done a photoshoot for him and made these little scrapbook pages filled with pictures of him in different outfits and captions such as, ‘Born a Buckeye!’. They really went above and beyond to do all these special things for him. It was a wonderful experience!” she says.
A full-circle opportunity
Following her son’s birth, Dr. Graf finished her fellowship training and begun working in research medicine. While she loved her work, Dr. Graf missed being at the bedside with patients and families. Coincidentally, an old trainee called and asked if she would be interested in moving back home to Dayton to pursue an opening with Pediatrix Medical Group of Ohio. Reflecting on her amazing experience with the group, not to mention the perk of being closer to family, Dr. Graf jumped at the opportunity. “It was an easy decision,” she says. “Dayton is home.”
Dr. Graf says what she loves most about her team is that they feel like family. “My partners, both the physicians and nurse practitioners, have always had my back, and no one ever hesitates to help someone else out,” she shares. “I also like how open our team is to change. Our focus is on providing the best possible patient care, and if something is not working in our protocols or if we see changes in our data, we regroup. We regroup, review evidence and best practices, talk about it and do what needs to be done,” Dr. Graf explains. Most importantly, she says because their group focuses so heavily on working as a team to provide excellent patient care, these conversations can happen in a safe space with the best interest of the patients in mind.
Taking a lesson from her son
Dr. Graf’s motivation and inspiration for life come from her family, particularly her son. “My son came into this world fighting. Despite having a visible physical difference, he is the happiest, most independent, empathetic and creative person I have ever known,” she says. “He doesn’t view his limb difference as a limitation. He never feels sorry for himself and is always willing to help other people—he is such an inspiration for me.”
Dr. Graf is proud to share that Andrew will be celebrating his 10th birthday in June.
About Dr. Graf
Dr. Graf is board certified in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine. She earned her undergraduate and medical degree at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She completed her pediatrics residency at Brown University/Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I., and then a neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver. Dr. Graf serves on the Parent Family Advisory Council at Miami Valley Hospital and is a volunteer with the March of Dimes. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her family, traveling, hiking and cycling.
Are you looking for a new adventure? Pediatrix Medical Group of Ohio is searching for neonatologists to join their team at Miami Valley Hospital! View their open positions or contact Jeannie Walker for more information.