on father’s day, dr. daughter is closer
Dad helped guide path to be doctor
Jun 20, 2015
Sandra J. Milburn/The Hutchinson News
Dr. David Richman, MD, in Family Practice, and his daughter Dr. Lindsay Nordwald, MD, in OB/GYN, both practice medicine at the Hutchinson Clinic.
Lindsay Nordwald was just 5-years-old when she began tagging along with her dad as he made the rounds at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center.
David Richman had no idea how those times together were affecting his daughter’s life.
The doctor just wanted to spend time with his daughter and her two younger brothers, Brent and Scott. Bringing them along was the only way to make it happen.
While the children didn’t go into the patient’s room with him, they were exposed to the hubbub in the halls of the hospital as they waited for their father at the nurses station or doctor’s lounge.
Nordwald, now 32, was a bright child who expressed herself easily, according to her father.
“She was always fun and she still is,” Richman said.
While growing up, Nordwald didn’t say she would never move back to Hutch-inson once she was an adult. But she thought it unlikely.
Today, both she and her father practice medicine at the Hutchinson Medical Clinic. Richman is in family practice and Nordwald is in obstetrics and gynecology. They run into each other when time allows for a break in the physicians lounge. On more hectic days they might not see each other, but they spot each others car in the parking lot.
“We’re very close,” Richman said. “Our houses are in the same neighborhood.”
For Richman, having his daughter, son-in-law Travis Nordwald and 20-month-old grandson Bennett move to Hutchinson last August was a blessing. But it wasn’t anything he ever expected.
Neither was having his daughter follow him in becoming a physician.
A life decision
As a child, Lindsay Richman attended space camp at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center and went on to be a counselor in the camp every summer through college. She was also a serious dancer, who continued to study the art in college.
Through it all her father’s influence was important; she thought he knew everything.
“In fact, I still feel that way,” she recalled.” I admire his knowledge. He has an amazing memory. He worked a lot growing up, but he and my mom invested a lot of time and energy into our family.”
She remembered a family vacation in the Bahamas and watching her dad rush to rescue a woman who had collapsed in a restaurant. That left an impression on the 14-year-old.
By the time Lindsay Richman was in high school she was fascinated enough with medicine she was given permission to watch open heart surgery at the hospital. Still undecided about her future, she took both the medical college and law school entrance exams and according to her father did very well on both.
“She could have done anything,” David Richman said.
When it came time to make the decision of whether or not to become a doctor he counseled his daughter.
“I didn’t talk her out of it,” he said.
But he wanted to make sure if his daughter decided to go to medical school she realized the commitment. He wanted her to know it was a long, hard process with 12 years of schooling. If she was going to become a doctor she needed to be make sure that was really what she wanted to do.
Richman felt strongly if Lindsay got a slot in medical school she needed to stick with it, because a limited number are offered each year. One person chosen for a slot meant another equally talented person wouldn’t get into medical school.
If she didn’t go on to pursue a career, that would be one slot wasted.
She decided to become a doctor.
Richman bought her a black bag once she was accepted into the University of Kansas Medical School.
There, Lindsay married Travis Nordwald in 2008. The two had met as KU undergraduates. The wedding was on a Saturday evening and she started a new rotation that next Monday morning.
A family affair
Following her residency where she specialized in obstetrics and gynecology at KU Medical School, Lindsay Nordwald received offers in the Kansas City area. That’s where Richman thought his daughter and her family would remain. He and his wife, Nancy, were OK with the drive to the Kansas City-metro area for weekend visits. He just hoped they wouldn’t move any further from them.
But last year there was an opening with the Hutchinson Clinic. A mother herself now, family is paramount. While there are things she might have given up living in the city, there are no longer hour-long commutes sitting in traffic. She has two stop lights and she can be at work or home in 7 minutes. The extra time is spent with her family or working.
She also appreciates having her dad around for advice. He says the feeling is mutual.
“We run cases by each other,” Richman said. “To the chagrin of our family, we talk medicine until everyone rolls their eyes.”
The family connections extend further. Richman is in practice with his brother Dana Richman.
Along with their careers, father and daughter share a passion for KU basketball. Since she began college they either watch the games together or text each other throughout the game. Then afterwards they discuss the results.
This Father’s Day, Lindsay Nordwald will be physically closer to her dad than last year. But this year she’ll be on call. However, she can just pop over to his house.
When it comes to her dad who has led by example over the years, Nordwald has come to appreciate his compassion, as well as his deep love for her mother.