Dr. Wu is surrounded by nurses and mothers of many of the children he delivered.
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Reflecting on 50 years practicing medicine, Dr. Wu remembers milestones that marked his career at Adventist HealthGlendale.
There were the countless numbers of young residents he mentored during their rotation. “I was involved in a teaching program helping medical students, family practice residents and OB residents,” he recalls. “Fifty years I spent here was a long tenure teaching, grooming medical students at a time when I was running my private practice and also doing long hours of work.”
There were early years when Dr. Wu “moonlighted” — working nights in Glendale’s emergency room (“in the old building”) in 12-hour shifts. “I was able to sleep between seeing patients. Very different than today, the ER wasn’t that busy,” he says.
There were individual cases of note. in 1994, Dr. Wu delivered triplets vaginally to a 50-year-old eagle Rock woman, the third baby by breech, which was covered in the L.A. Times. In 2009, the discovery channel’s “Births Beyond Belief” segment featured Dr. Wu and his patient in what was thought to be the first taping of a successful breech delivery. (it’s on Youtube.)
And there were the families whose children were all delivered by Dr. Wu. One such mother is Dominique O’Brien, who attended Dr. Wu’s retirement celebration with all seven children!
Dr. Ronald S. and Mrs. Georgiana Wu: Celebrating the couple who calls our hospital ‘home’
1968 was an eventful year for Ronald and Georgiana Wu. In January, the young couple became engaged. In the spring, Ronald earned the esteemed designation of “Dr. Wu,” graduating from medical school at Loma Linda University. In June, he and Georgiana were married on Father’s Day, and on July 1, Dr. Wu began his internship and residency at Adventist Health Glendale.
More than half-a-century later, Ronald and Georgiana continue to feel a close attachment to the hospital they call “home.” Their love and devotion to our mission and generously giving of themselves through decades of service have created a legacy that soon will become even more enduring — naming of the hospital’s main auditorium in their honor.
At the Foundation’s UNGALA, rescheduled in the fall, this extraordinary couple will be recognized for their nearly lifelong commitment to the hospital’s continuing growth and success.
“The auditorium is an important place for people to gather and learn and celebrate special occasions,” Dr. Wu and Georgiana said jointly. “This is where doctors meet for continuing education, and we want them to have the best surroundings and AV equipment.
“This is also where everyone in the hospital comes together, and it’s where we have events that also welcome the community.”
“This hospital has been our home for 52 years,” Georgiana says proudly. “Ever since Ronald graduated from medical school, this has been his one and only hospital where he practiced.”
Dr. Wu, an obstetrician widely known for helping women with difficult pregnancies, retired from private practice in 2017 after more than 49 years and involvement in delivering an estimated 20,000 babies. He was one of few physicians in Southern California who specialized in vaginal breech deliveries — any position where the baby is not head first. His patients, seeking the skills of a doctor who understand that “women want choices when giving birth,” came to Glendale from throughout the U.S. and as far away as China and India.
Dr. Wu also was greatly admired and respected by the nurses and other associates who supported him over the years in labor and delivery, maternity, NICU and surgery units. “With love and understanding, we were teammates,” he recalled. “Because of this relationship, this hospital became a very important part of my life.”
In an album of tributes at his retirement, Bethany Simeone, RN, perhaps expressed it best: “You have given us a lasting legacy through your contributions to our hospital — through your time, dedication and all the education you gave to staff and nurses and residents.” Another colleague wrote: “Doctors like you are truly rare.”
While Dr. Wu was often busy around the clock caring for his patients (“I got calls at home, driving on the freeway, at restaurants, in church, wherever I go,” he said), Georgiana was on a mission of her own to do whatever she could to help support the hospital.
She became a licensed medical technologist, assisting Dr. Wu, including when the couple volunteered at the L.A. Free Clinic. (“Ronald had the mentality to serve,” Georgiana said.) She then underwent training through Pacific Union College, earned her registered nurse license and worked until she had children. Georgiana volunteered for several years in the hospital gift shop, joined The Guild and twice served as its president. During the time leading up to the opening of the West Tower in 2007, she was a member of the hospital’s Governing Board of Directors.
In more recent years, Georgiana’s leadership on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and her collaboration with other Guild members inspired multiple fundraising efforts to support enhancements in patient care, including (a favorite project) Giraffe OmniBeds for the NICU.
As one of the longest tenured Guild members, Georgiana said, “My greatest joy is when we all are ambassadors for the hospital.”
Dr. Wu and Georgiana share common bonds: each comes from a family of seven children. Ronald was born in China, Georgiana in Vietnam, and both came to the U.S. to further their college education. (Ronald graduated pre-med from Union College in Nebraska. Georgiana earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Pacific Union College.)
On a Saturday in 1966, they met for the first time at a church in Los Angeles. They don’t remember their first date, but it was probably a visit to a park or somewhere inexpensive. “We were students in those days,” Georgiana remembers.
Completing his internship and residency, Dr. Wu joined the hospital’s medical staff in 1972. He earned a fellowship in perinatology at USC’s School of Medicine and was invited to join the ob/gyn practice of Drs. Stieg Engblom and Young Hahn.
Dr. Wu and Georgiana are parents of two grown daughters, and they have one granddaughter.
As decades passed, Dr. Wu continued serving the hospital and his patients tirelessly. Long days often turned into late nights and morning sunrises. “I loved delivering babies and seeing the joy and love and happiness of a new family. That is so fulfilling,” he smiled.
To Dr. Ronald and Georgiana Wu, thank you for your gifts that will continue to bless this hospital you call “home” for generations to come!
Story and photographs by Vic Pallos