Mount Sinai Medical Center is proud to have four generations of doctors from the same family who collectively have practiced at the hospital for more than half a century.
The late Dr. Jonas Unger began practicing at Mount Sinai when it was located in the old Nautilus Hotel and paved the way for three generations of surgeons that would follow — his son, Dr. Harold Unger; grandson, Dr. Stephen Unger, and great-grandson, Dr. Joshua Unger.
“The Unger family has made a tremendous contribution to Mount Sinai, virtually since its inception,” said Steven D. Sonenreich, president and CEO of Mount Sinai. “Each generation in this family has chosen to pursue a career in medicine at Mount Sinai — and our patients are the true beneficiaries of their decision.”
After graduating from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, Harold began his practice of general surgery at Mount Sinai in 1955, just six years after the hospital opened its doors in 1949. Shortly after his arrival, Harold helped initiate Mount Sinai’s vascular surgery program, a milestone in the hospital’s history.
“This phase of my career was most exciting because we were doing procedures never done at Mount Sinai before,” he said.
Harold also was performing a number of radical and partial mastectomies at a time when breast augmentation surgery was becoming popular. It occurred to him that it would make sense to try doing a breast implant at the same time as the mastectomy, sparing the patient physical disfigurement. As such, doctors performed Mount Sinai’s first immediate reconstruction surgery, a procedure commonly practiced today.
In 1982, Harold’s son, Stephen, joined the family practice and went on to be named chair of the department of surgery in 2009. Stephen helped establish minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery at Mount Sinai in 1989, and he was active in setting up a series of training programs to teach the technique to other surgeons in the community. He was one of the first surgeons at Mount Sinai to perform numerous laparoscopic procedures, including gallbladder removal, the treatment of bile duct stones and the placement of peritoneal dialysis catheters.
In addition, Stephen has a special interest in increasing the efficiency of dialysis. He has spent the last 15 years developing new approaches to creating and preserving arteriovenous fistulas that maximize the amount of blood cleansed during dialysis treatments.
Continuing the family’s legacy, Stephen’s son, Joshua, joined Stephen’s practice in August 2013, becoming the third generation in the Unger family to practice surgery at Mount Sinai, and the fourth generation of Unger physicians at the medical center.
“I am very proud of the tradition established by my great-grandfather and my grandfather when he opened his practice at Mount Sinai in 1955,” Joshua said. “I hope to continue what I perceive to be the practice’s ultimate dedication to patient care and the highest standards of professional and surgical excellence.”
Like his father, Joshua graduated from Duke University Medical School, where he completed a comprehensive fellowship in vascular surgery. His surgical interests include carotid disease, advanced hemodialysis access, advanced lower extremity bypass, endovascular treatment of aneurysms and peripheral arterial disease.
Reflecting on this latest development in the Unger family tree, Stephen said, “I now understand the pride that my father felt when I joined his practice in 1982.”
For more information on the surgical practice of Drs. Stephen and Joshua Unger, and their associate Dr. Jennifer Davies, call 305- 674-CARE (2273) or visit www.msmc.com