In 2006, the now Drs. Chase and Susan Lobrano met in their first year as medical students at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. Chase, who was born and raised in Baker, LA, was outgoing and charismatic, always the life of the party and was immediately struck by the perpetually laid-back and reserved Susan.
Chase, now an orthopedic specialist, knew early on in life he wanted to be a doctor. He had an initial interest in pediatrics, and then, as a college student, he worked as a patient care assistant and ER clerk to familiarize himself with the field. Looking back, he realizes he always wanted to be in orthopedics.
“Ortho is a challenge and it’s competitive. When I was a kid, my dad did carpentry work, so I’ve always appreciated working with my hands. Ortho gives me the opportunity to work with my hands, but it also gives me the opportunity to give my patients a new lease on life.” said Chase.
Susan was born and raised in Shreveport. Homeschooled until high school, she then attended Parkway High School and Centenary College. She enlisted in the U.S. Air Force following graduation and went on to medical school in Shreveport. Today, Susan works in emergency medicine at University Health.
While she didn’t always know she wanted to be a doctor, she enjoyed studying biology in school. Medical school seemed like the logical next step after graduating college. In med school, Susan enjoyed all of the different facets of medicine and knew emergency medicine would offer her the opportunity to do the best part of each specialty.
Chase and Susan started dating as second year medical students and were married in June 2009 at the beginning of their senior year of medical school. After their graduation from med school, however, is when marriage and medicine started to get complicated.
Susan, having enlisted in the Air Force prior to medical school, was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS for her residency, while Chase was completing his residency in Shreveport. To complicate matters further, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, Olivia, in 2012.
For nearly three years, Susan and Olivia lived in Biloxi while Chase was in Shreveport. Every other weekend, Chase would finish his shift, get in the car, and drive six hours to Biloxi. He would leave on Friday evening just to turn around and come back Sunday afternoon, ready to be back at the hospital to start rounds by 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning.
In January 2014, circumstances complicated once again when Susan was deployed for six months to Al Uedid Air Base in Qatar. During this time, Susan was a part of the Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) out of Qatar. There were three CCATTs at the time, one based in Qatar, one based in Afghanistan and the other based in Germany. Each team consisted of a doctor, a critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist.
Over the course of her six month deployment, Susan flew in C-130 and C-17 medevac aircrafts to pick up wounded soldiers from various places in the Middle East and transport them to Germany for further medical attention.
Meanwhile, Chase was in his last year of his orthopaedic surgery residency in Shreveport while taking over the reigns as primary caregiver for Olivia. At this time, Susan’s parents also stepped in and helped with Olivia.
“Without our families’ help, there is no way we would be where we are in our lives and careers today,” said Susan. “It really does take a village if you’re going to practice medicine and have a family.”
After Susan returned to the State, her commitment to the Air Force was completed and the couple moved with their young daughter to Springfield, IL, for Chase’s fellowship in Adult Reconstruction at Southern Illinois University. For the first time in three years, the young family lived in the same place at the same time, however, separated from their extended families and support systems.
After completing his fellowship at SIU, the young doctor duo decided to return to Shreveport.
“I always said I didn’t want to come back to Shreveport unless I could work at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, and sure enough, a spot opened up there for me,” Chase said. “Ultimately, Shreveport is home. We know not everyone could survive what we have over the last several years, but we did, and we’re actually happy. Life is good.”
In April, Chase and Susan welcomed their second child — this time a son named Henry. Olivia started kindergarten this year, and the family is happy to be back in Shreveport where it all began.