Class of 2019 profile: Patient to pediatrician finds hope in hospitals

May 16, 2019

For Hayley Grzych, hospitals are a place for miracles. Miracles she’s seen—and lived firsthand. Born as a conjoined twin, Grzych underwent more than 40 surgeries as a child. These experiences led her to become a pediatric physician.

“When I think back on all my time spent in the hospital, I remember it as a place of miracles and unwavering hope,” she said. “Thanks to the inspiration of my many amazing physicians, it is also where my dream to become a pediatric physician was born.”

The nature of Grzych’s condition came as a complete surprise to her parents. A shock the Lowell, Indiana, couple took in stride. As her biggest champions, her parents never let the circumstances of her birth define her.

“Though my health problems were often present, they weren’t the focus of my life,” Grzych said. “My parents made sure I had every opportunity. I did dance for 10 years. I did cheerleading for five years. And luckily, I had doctors who would always work around my life. I didn’t have to miss my cheerleading competitions.”

When the time came for Grzych to apply to medical schools, Indiana University School of Medicine stood out. It was where many of her beloved physicians had completed their training. She also wanted to stay near Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. After spending many days at Riley as a patient, Grzych enjoyed supporting patients as a volunteer and later as a physician-in-training with Rock for Riley.

A passion for pediatrics

During medical school, Grzych’s affinity for pediatric medicine flourished. She had found “her people.” Grzych quickly learned that long clinical shifts flew by when she was working in pediatric units.

“I feel a true personal connection to the pediatric patients,” she said. “I’ve been in their shoes and I can very clearly remember all of the emotions associated with being in a big scary hospital as a child. Any time I could utilize my past experiences to figure out how to better care for a patient, I knew I was on the right career path.”

Grzych will soon continue her medical training at St. Louis University. There, she will begin a pediatrics residency—something she’s been looking forward to now for years. She can’t wait to continue to help children—some of her favorite types of people.

Read Grzych’s full story in this MD Student News blog post. Check out other stories about the Class of 2019, including a feature in the Indianapolis Star:

From sextuplet to surgeon: Dilley focuses on Hoosier health
Graduate on unique journey as fiction writer and scientist
Dr. Sextuplet will see you now; one of the Dilley six graduates IUSM (from