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Meet Dr. Stephen Brada, anesthesiologist

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Dr. Stephen Brada, anesthesiologist with BayCare Clinic, poses with mountains in the background.

Dr. Stephen Brada is first and foremost an anesthesiologist.

But there is more to life than working, more to learn and experience out there in the world. That’s what Brada loves to explore.

Brada has long seen himself as a philosopher and a teacher. Though he knew he was destined to wind up in the family business – his father was a psychiatrist and his older brother pursued a career in medicine – Brada wanted to start by learning something that would help him see the world in a different way.

“Knowing that I was going to med school and figuring that I was going to spend most of my life doing hard sciences … I thought the last thing I want to do is spend every waking minute in college doing this kind of stuff. I knew I was going to take the pre-med stuff but I wanted to do something else. So, I kinda made my parents nuts by declaring a major in philosophy.”

Philosophy begins in wonder – Plato

Brada’s journey began at Stanford University in California, where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy.

“My philosophical background opened my eyes to the world at large, allowing me to focus not just on medicine but so many other interests,” Brada says.

Medical school came along soon enough. Brada earned his medical degree at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. It was there, during his third year of medical school, that Brada crossed paths with the right person at the right time, a mentor on his journey.

While Brada was doing his pediatric rotation, his boss saw something in him. Something familiar. The rotation’s medical director, herself an anesthesiologist, encouraged Brada to explore a career in anesthesia.

“She was one of those astute people who looked at me on the rotation and saw that every idiosyncrasy that I had fit perfectly with anesthesia,” Brada says. “She was like, ‘You’re a control freak, you write really small, you’re meticulous in everything.’”

It was a perfect fit.

“In the spring of my third year I signed up for two weeks of anesthesia and I think by the fourth day, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is where I need to be,’” Brada says.

He still is. Brada has practiced with BayCare Clinic Anesthesia for almost two decades.

There is more to it for Brada, a calling that runs deeper. He enjoys guiding medical students on their journey, teaching them anesthetic techniques and how those techniques and practices will affect the patient.

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think – Socrates

“I can show them things that you don’t often get to see,” Brada says. “It’s a great look into physiology because I can say, ‘I’m going to give them this medicine and it’s going to slow their heart rate down.’ And you give it and watch the heart rate slow down and now you say their blood pressure is going to go down. It’s kind of cool to really delve into it and see exactly what we are doing in a minute-to-minute basis.”

Brada, who proudly says he has “a different outlook on life,” smiles as he thinks about teaching. Hopefully, he says, it keeps the material from becoming too dry.

“One of my eldest daughter’s friends had a great quote,” says Brada, who is married with five children. “We were going up to the family cottage and we were taking her friend with us and I heard in the back seat when she got in the car, ‘Remember, don’t ever ask Dr. Brada a question because it’s going to turn into a lecture.’”

Education is the best provision for old age – Aristotle

“Once we were up at the cottage, she happened to ask why she could see so many more stars out there than we see in Green Bay. I said, ‘Everybody get your coats on! We are going for a star walk!’”

Always exploring, always learning, always teaching, Brada is still helping others gain a greater understanding of the world. Just like the great philosophers.

Published: Friday, May 21, 2021