pediatrician. Josef Seidl was Catholic, but Johanna was
Jewish. Although Johanna converted to Catholicism,
the Nazis generally did not recognize such conversions.
The couple opened a general medical practice clinic
attached to their house, where they delivered babies,
made home visits, treated patients of all ages, and managed to stay in Germany for the duration of the war.
“We honestly don’t know how my aunt and uncle
and their children survived Nazi Germany,” Dr. Susan
Pories said. “Their clinic was across the street from a
monastery, and the monks may have protected them.”
Dr. Susan Pories is grateful that her father reinforced
the positive aspects of surgical practice. “He started
taking me on surgical rounds when I was very young,”
she said. As an undergraduate at the University of Vermont, Burlington, Dr. Susan Pories majored in art and
English education, then taught and volunteered at a free
clinic in Burlington. Aware from a young age of the
meaning and purpose that the surgical profession gave
her father, however, Dr. Pories never gave up the idea
of pursuing a similar goal, and her father always taught
her that gender should not be a barrier to pursuing a
surgical career. She eventually decided to enter medical
school, enrolled at the University of Vermont Medical
School, and completed a residency in general surgery
at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, Burlington. She went on to pursue an oncology fellowship at
the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, MA,
and ultimately focused her practice on breast cancer.
Four generations of change
Like Drs. Hoyt and Pories, Stephen Unger, MD, FACS,
and Joshua Unger, MD, FACS, considered other options
before deciding to pursue a career in surgery. Growing
up in the 1960s in Miami Beach, FL, Dr. Stephen Unger
considered becoming a hippie. Instead, he followed
the lead of his dad and his grandfather and became a
surgeon. Dr. Stephen Unger has had a distinguished
surgical career for the past 35 years, at Mount Sinai
Medical Center, Miami Beach. He has practiced general
and vascular surgery and has specialized in advanced
laparoscopy and complex dialysis access surgery.
His son, Joshua Unger, MD, FACS, originally opted
for a career in computer science and worked for six
years at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD.
“I spent whole days not talking to anybody,” he said.
“Then one day I went with a friend to a local hospital, and I got a good feeling there.” He decided to take
night courses and apply to medical school.
“My parents never pressured me to become a sur-
geon or a doctor,” Dr. Joshua Unger said. “But now
that I am in practice, my dad and I work like partners.
He’ll often ask for my opinion regarding a patient.”
Joshua’s grandfather, the late Harold Unger, MD,
FACS, became interested in being a physician from his
own father, Jonas Unger, MD, a general practitioner
who delivered babies and performed appendecto-
mies in New York, NY, and later moved his practice
to Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Dr. Harold Unger was an early adopter of vascular
surgery in Miami Beach, having studied for a month
in Houston, TX, to learn procedures for treating aneurysms from the late Michael E. Debakey, MD, FACS.
He also was one of the pioneers of immediate breast
reconstruction after mastectomy, which at the time
Patients often tell Dr. Joshua Unger today that they
felt connected to his personable grandfather. “He was
Dr. Walter Pories with two of his daughters, Kathy Pories (left) and Dr. Susan Pories.
Drs. Josef and