This spring, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas OB/GYN Residency Program graduate Robert T. Gunby Jr., MD, received the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA) highest honor – the Distinguished Service Award. The award firmly establishes Dr. Gunby as a legend in Texas medicine, and it serves as a capstone to a 40-plus year career that is not yet over.
Dan McCoy, MD, TMA Board of Trustees member, paid powerful tribute to his friend in his remarks before presenting Dr. Gunby the award. “Dr. Bob Gunby is a well-respected man of integrity,” he said. “When he speaks, people listen. It’s been an honor to witness his never-ending compassion and selflessness over the years.”
Finding His Calling
The TMA award is another milestone in a career marked with many achievements in both the patient care arena, as well as furthering the practice of medicine in Texas.
The foundation for much of Dr. Gunby’s success as an OB/GYN was established during his training at Baylor Dallas in the 1970s. In fact, when he first came to Baylor Dallas as an intern, he intended on becoming a surgeon until Reuben Adams, MD, who was the head of the OB residency, convinced him to change.
“I did a rotating surgery internship and got to go through OB,” explains Dr. Gunby, “and when I came through OB and got to do so much and loved it so much that Dr. Adams said, ‘You’d be great at this. You ought to switch over.’”
Meanwhile, the thousands of patients he cared for and the resources he had at his disposal at Baylor Dallas during his residency convinced him to change his mind regarding another major life decision: staying in Dallas at Baylor Dallas rather than returning to his native Georgia after residency.
Dr. Gunby believes his residency experience taught him not only how to medically treat patients, but how to develop lasting relationships with them and provide the type of service they want and expect. “You got to work with so many private practice attendings that you got their perspective already, so you were sort of already geared up and in the right mind set to care for private patients.”
Making a Bigger Impact
Since early in his career, Dr. Gunby not only has kept a busy practice schedule, but has been active in the Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS), TMA and the American Medical Association. In fact, he has served as president of both DCMS and TMA.
During his tenure as DCMS president, he worked to resolve a significant contract dispute between an independent practice association and large insurance carrier. His efforts are widely credited with catalyzing the passage of a physician negotiation bill in the Texas Legislature to restore fairness in the contracting process.
“There are so many other forces out there trying to control what happens in medicine, so you have to protect the profession and your patients because if you don’t, someone else decides those things,” says Dr. Gunby.
Still Going Strong
Although he has been at Baylor Dallas first as an intern, then as a resident and then physician on the medical staff since the early 1970s, some of the most exciting developments during his long career have occurred over the past year. Last October, he delivered Watson Breeden, the smallest baby ever born at Baylor Dallas to survive, at 25 weeks’ gestation and weighing only 11 ounces. In April, baby Watson was discharged after spending nearly six months in the Baylor Dallas NICU. The event was covered by national news media.
Dr. Gunby also works with the Baylor Dallas transplant team that performed the first four living-donor uterine transplants in the United States as part of a clinical trial under Institutional Review Board approval early last fall. His involvement with the transplant program began nearly three decades ago, when he delivered the baby of the first liver transplant patient in the Southwest to give birth.
Despite all his achievements and his decades in medicine, there is one more milestone Dr. Gunby thinks he’d like to hit before considering retirement.
“Another six years will make it 50 years at Baylor Dallas. Maybe then I’ll retire.”