Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 24, 2014

Looking back on life

Bluefield OB/GYN reminisces on 38 years of delivering babies

BLUEFIELD — In less than a month Dr. Bruce Lasker, 68, of Bluefield, will be cleaning out his office, while reminiscing about the last 38 years. As an OB/GYN, Lasker has been delivering babies in the two Virginias since 1976. He delivered his last baby in April and will retire officially on June 30.

From triplets to premature babies, Lasker isn’t sure how many babies he has helped bring into the world.

“I have no official number but it’s somewhere between 8,500 and 9,000,” Lasker said.

Lasker, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from Vanderbilt University, University of Tennessee and completed an internship and residency in New Orleans, La.  

Lasker said he chose to be an OB/GYN because it was a fairly happy profession and he had a good experience with it in medical school.

After he finished school, Lasker was looking for a place to settle down and begin his practice.

“I had four children when I finished school and I was looking for a small community that needed an OB/GYN, and Bluefield just seemed to be the perfect fit,” Lasker said.

Lasker, who has six children and eight grandchildren, is looking forward to spending more time with his family after he retires. He isn’t sure if he will take on any new hobbies yet. Lasker will take time to adjust to his new schedule.

“I am going to miss the people I work with and the joy of delivering children, but I sure won’t miss the hours,” Lasker said. “Since Bluefield is a smaller community each doctor is responsible for all their own patients, so I am on call pretty much 24/7. It gets hard after awhile, getting up in the middle of the night, having to rush into work. I work with a really unique group here at the hospital. They are good people, they are like family to me.”

Lasker talked about different memories throughout the years and experience of delivering babies. Even when he helped another doctor deliver his last child by C-section.

“I once had to do a C-section right in the bed before we could move the woman to the operating table. The baby was fine; it was whisked away to be taken care of and we took care of the mother,” Lasker said. “There was just no time to get her to the operating room or table, we had to do it right there in the bed. There are so many memories it is hard to remember every single one, but there are certain ones that do stand out in my mind.

Another time I had to walk to the hospital in a blizzard to deliver a baby. The snow was about six feet deep and I couldn’t get my car out,” Lasker said. “I was in the biggest hurry to get to the hospital that I was in my sandals coming through the snow to get here.”

• • •

As Lasker gave a tour throughout the hospital and the nursery, he spoke about his experience delivering second and third generations of children.

“It is really amazing that years later I am delivering children of children I delivered years and years ago,” Lasker said.

Two babies were in the small hospital nursery, delivered by other doctors in the area. Lasker, picked up one baby, and cuddled her to his chest.

“I have been doing this a long time,” Lasker said.

He said the largest baby he has ever delivered was 13 pounds, 8 ounces and some of the smallest were right around the one pound range. He will always remember his last delivery as well. The mother had the same name as his daughter, Leah.

Lasker has watched things change throughout the years including technology and delivery methods.

“When I started in 1976, the woman was in the room by herself and everyone waited in the waiting room until the baby was born, and you would go out and announce what the baby was. Now virtually everyone has someone with them and some sort of support system throughout the entire labor,” Lasker said. “Even though many things have changed throughout the years, the one thing that has changed the most is the men and their sensitivity when the baby is born. A lot of men tear up, you never used to see that. But my favorite part of the whole process is when mom and dad see their baby for the first time when it’s born. Seeing the way the react always touches my heart.”

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com

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