Double doctors: Daughters follow dads' medical footsteps


Dan Lassiter/dlassiter@gazettext

— Dr. Kristin Miller recalls going on rounds with her father when she was a child. The smell of a hospital still triggers those pleasant memories from her youth.

Dr. Kristen Goelzer recalls how her father's love of his work inspired her to choose a similar career.

Both Janesville doctors followed in their dads' medical footsteps—Kristin Miller in obstetrics and gynecology and Kristen Goelzer in pediatrics.

Kristin Miller works at Dean Clinic-Janesville East and her dad, Ed, works for Mercy Health System.

Kristen Goelzer and her dad, Mark, work in the same office at Mercy Clinic East.

Two daughters and two fathers.

Thousands of babies and thousands of children cared for by doctors with the Goelzer or Miller name.

Both fathers beam when considering their daughters and their competency in their professions.

The women located in Janesville to be near family.

Their dads, Ed Miller, 64, and Mark Goelzer, 66, both started practices here the first week of July 1978. The families became good friends.

Ed and his wife, Becky, sponsored Mark and Carol Goelzer's twins at confirmation.

Mark Goelzer was Kristin Miller's doctor when she was young.

Ed Miller delivered Kristen Goelzer's first son.

Ed's wife is a nurse and at one point worked with Mark Goelzer in pediatrics.

Ed Miller estimates he's delivered 6,000 babies, a number that makes his daughter smile.

"I'll go in to (a delivery), and (the patient will) say, 'Your dad delivered me,'" Kristin said.

"It's a wonderful specialty," Ed said.

He has most enjoyed seeing the excitement of young moms. He stopped delivering babies in recent years to avoid the unpredictable hours.

'What she wanted to do'

When she was very young, Kristin Miller, 37, remembers her dad occasionally taking her on rounds at the hospital.

"I thought that was cool, checking on a patient or two," she said.

Still, she resisted studying medicine, opting for marine zoology in college until her advisor told her she wouldn't spend her days swimming with dolphins.

She turned toward medicine after taking an emergency medical technician course in college.

Kristin completed her residency in the military and served in Iraq. There, she delivered three babies but mostly performed amputations and office visits.

She met her husband, Jason Buckner, in the military. He is a law student at Marquette University. She had her first baby in the military and also has a 9-month old son.

The military was a great experience, Kristin Miller said.

"I was more scared of my oral boards than going to Iraq," she said.

Ed recalls watching Kristin make her decision to choose obstetrics as her specialty, "just hoping that she was really sure about what she wanted to."

Obstetrics is a huge time commitment, and the hours aren't great, he said.

"I think it's more difficult for any young woman who's trying to raise a family—to be the primary caregiver—and do this job," Ed said.

"Women deliver at night … a lot," Ed said with a smile.

"2 o'clock, 3 o'clock in the a.m. is a nice delivery time," Kristin agreed.

Kristin has a nanny to help with her boys.

Kristin likes that she can also perform surgery in her specialty.

"The baby part, it's so much fun," Kristin said. "Sometimes it's scary and (nerve racking), but most of the time, it does go right."

'Looked up to my dad'

Kristen Goelzer, 40, recalled starting second grade with a dream of being a ballerina. By the end of the year, she had settled on being a pediatrician. She blames her dad.

"I always looked up to my dad," Kristen said.

Mark Goelzer said he occasionally packed all four of kids in the car and took them on house calls when his wife wasn't available. The kids would spend time in the office nursery if he had to go in on call.

"He's never complained about work, one day," Kristen Goelzer said. "I don't ever, ever remember him saying that he didn't love his work.

"How many people can say that?" she asked.

Kristen said her desire to help people comes from both parents.

"My mom's also always been such a caregiver, taking in family members and caring for them when they needed help," she said.

Kristen is married with three boys, and Carol Goelzer watches her grandchildren so her daughter can work.

Kristen's husband, David Flowers, works in sales at Briggs & Stratton in Milwaukee.

The hours aren't the greatest for pediatrics, either. A pediatrician must report to the hospital when a baby is delivered by cesarean section.

Although Kristen knew in second grade she wanted to be in pediatrician, as she grew older, she helped care for her grandmother and found a love for internal medicine, as well.

She did a double residency—pediatrics and internal medicine—and now cares for people from birth to age 90, her dad said.

"She's the perfect internist," Mark said. "She truly listens to elderly people and is very comforting."

Both Kristen and her dad enjoy children.

"That's why I do pediatrics," Kristen said. "It's wonderful fun."

Mark Goelzer is known for wearing a Mickey Mouse watch and kid-friendly ties to connect with little ones.

He and his daughter have calm manners, an antidote for sometimes frantic, first-time parents. Kristen said it's been nice to have her father as a sounding board.

Mark Goelzer looked fondly at his daughter across their small office and said it's hard to put into words the pride he feels in her, her two residencies and her three children.

"We've had a good time," he said. does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

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