East Longmeadow native recognized for work in Corpus Christi
By Laura Christiansen
Dr. Patricia Ramsay, a native of East Longmeadow, has recently been featured in NSIDE M.D. Costal Bend Medical Journal.
Ramsay is a neonatologist. A neonatologist is a doctor that is especially concerned with the care, development and treatment of illnesses of newborn infants.
She holds the positions of medical director of neonatal intensive care unit at Driscoll Children's Hospital and medical director of the nursery at CHRISTUS Sphon Memorial Hospital, both in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Currently living in Corpus Christi, Ramsay got her medical beginnings here in Western Massachusetts.
As a young girl, Ramsay and her family had to deal with a medical crisis concerning her 18-month-old brother. He drank gasoline and was hospitalized.
"It was traumatic because he was hospitalized. It made me first want to become a nurse," Ramsay said.
As a teen, Ramsay volunteered at Baystate Medical Center as a candy striper. She decided to volunteer at the hospital because teens can't be nurses and she wanted to help people in a medical setting.
"During the summer months the hospital would have us come in for a number of days each week. We would do whatever needed to be done like delivering mail, filling water cups, transporting patients and delivering flowers. Delivering flowers was so fun; people loved getting them," Ramsay said.
"She graduated from high school here. She was going to different colleges in Colorado. She went to Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and got her medical license," Charles Docherty, Ramsay's father, said.
As a pediatric resident, Ramsay participated in a research project exploring the effects that inhaling high concentrations of supplemental oxygen has on premature infants.
After receiving her medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine, Ramsay's husband got transferred to Denver for work and Ramsay took a position at Denver Children's Hospital as a neonatal nurse.
"I was part of the Denver Children's Hospital Neonatal Transport team. We would take calls from a 12 state region and go pick up infants [in a helicopter] that needed specialized care," Ramsay said.
Ramsay believes that this experience is what pushed her over the fence to becoming a neonatologist.
Currently, at Driscoll Children's Hospital and CHRISTUS Sphon Hospital, Ramsay cares just as much about an infant's family as she does about the infant. She does all that she can to make sure the families are informed about what is happening to their children.
"The most important thing is to meet [expecting parents] early in the course. I like to meet the mother prior to birth. Abnormalities can generally be detected with ultrasound and I like to help prepare the parents for what is going to happen," Ramsay said.
Even after an infant is sent home, Ramsay makes annual check ups on the child and its family to see progress. She always tries to go the extra mile to keep a sick infant's family calm.
"If you don't make the special effort to meet with the parents sometimes they feel lost," Ramsay said.
Ramsay's motivation for success begins in her hometown of East Longmeadow.
"What motivated me the most was growing up in Massachusetts during the time period of President Kennedy. I really gained a sense of wanting to give to the community. East Longmeadow was a community that fostered in me that you have the opportunity that you make [available]," Ramsay said.
Ramsay never really thought that she'd grow up to become a doctor; she had her heart set on nursing.
"I believed that you could do whatever you believe in. You are what you think you are. If you think you're stuck, you're stuck," Ramsay said.