It’s not surprising that the Boden sisters are all going into orthopedics.
They have shared many things in life, all three graduating from Lakeside High School, Pomona College and Emory University School of Medicine.
Even before they were roommates at Emory, they were womb-mates in a much smaller space.
Fraternal triplets, they’ve been as inseparable as Musketeers for the past 25 years. Now, as they graduate in May from medical school and enter their first years of residency, they will be headed, for the first time, to different cities.
Emory recently hosted Match Day, when first-year residents are paired with teaching hospitals, and the triplets found out where they were headed: Stephanie to Pittsburgh, Lauren to Philadelphia and Allison to Miami.
“They’ve been together since conception,” said their mother, Dr. Mary Boden, who worked for Cigna until their senior year in high school, when she retired to help shepherd them into college. Coping with a resident’s long hours? Learning to be a bona fide doctor? Those will be challenges, said mom. But being without each other? “It’s going to be the biggest adjustment they’re going to face,” she said.
The AJC first introduced you to the Boden triplets eight years ago, when they graduated one, two and three from Lakeside High School. (Actually, they graduated one, two and two: With GPAs of 4.23, Stephanie and Allison tied for second place, and shared the honor of being salutatorians. Lauren won that round, edging them out with a 4.28, and was named valedictorian.)
Back then, they were known as much for their athletic ability as for their scholarship. The triplets and their little sister Susanne twice took the school’s golf team to the state championships. All play softball, and Lauren pitched for a boys’ church league baseball team. (Her fastball was in the Guinness Book of World Records.)
Happily, those athletic achievements continued into college, where the three founded a women’s softball team, and played baseball, basketball and golf.
Unhappily, their devotion to sports has given them plentiful opportunities to learn about orthopedics from the wrong side of the operating table.
Stephanie has broken her nose three times, courtesy of errant softballs, a hard-charging power forward and a misjudged diving board. The sporting life has given a broken hand to Stephanie, a broken arm to Lauren, and concussions to both of them.
(Allison, spending more time on the golf course than in the dugout, has stayed healthy, clearly a testament to the superiority of the gentler sports.)
The sisters say they’re not entering the saw-bones discipline to heal their own broken fibulae. Their sports expertise will, however, make them simpatico with many of their patients — particularly if they go into sports medicine.
Their chosen field will also give them plenty to talk about with their father, Dr. Scott Boden, interim chairman of Emory University’s department of orthopedic surgery and vice president for business innovation at Emory Health Care.
The sisters didn’t discuss their plans to pursue orthopedics with one another, but they did strategize when it came time to apply for residencies. They decided to apply to different programs since teaching hospitals are unlikely to give their few first-year spots to three sisters. (Soon there will be four Boden doctors. Little sister Susanne is in her second year of medical school. Brother Michael, the nonconformist in the group, is studying business at Stanford.)
The triplets seem enthusiastic about the hands-on element of orthopedics, and the reward of fixing something that’s broken. Allison reminisced about playing a game of golf with her father and some of her father’s former patients, and hearing them praise her father’s spine surgery that made it possible for them to live again. “It was incredible to see firsthand how my dad was impacting and improving the lives of others,” she said.
Lauren and Stephanie also like the way that orthopedics has much in common with auto mechanics and home improvement. The three talked about the discipline one afternoon as they met at the coffee shop in Emory School of Medicine’s main building.
“(Working with) joints is the most barbaric, awesome thing,” said Lauren. “You’re literally cutting things off people and bolting metal parts onto them.”
Stephanie agreed: “There’s nothing like being handed a drill and a saw in the OR.”
In the meantime, two of the Boden sisters will have to adjust to cooler climes.
“In Miami, it’s 80 degrees,” said Allison. “I checked this morning.”
Said Stephanie: “It’s 38 degrees in Pittsburgh, with potential snow.” Philadelphia? Same.
Looks like Allison won this round.
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