Williamsport native to appear in ABC news special on neurology

August 31, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • Cara Sedney

Williamsport native Dr. Cara Sedney never thought becoming a brain surgeon would land her on television.

As a neurosurgery resident at West Virginia University's Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., television is not something she has time for in her busy schedule.

But on Thursday at 10 p.m., Sedney and the team of doctors in the neurosurgery department led by Dr. Julian Bailes will be featured on an episode of ABC News' "Nightline Prime: Secrets of Your Mind, Why We Do What We Do."

A camera crew followed the 1999 Williamsport High School graduate and her colleagues around Ruby Memorial Hospital for months, watching and recording as they treated patients.

The show looks into neuroscience, Sedney said.

Specifically, it investigates the relationships between the brain and love, the brain and violence, and the brain and food, as well as the brain's ability to heal, according to the ABC News website.


The second episode in the three-part series will focus on the trauma work of the brain surgeons at WVU, according to the ABC News website.

Watching Sedney on television will give her family and friends a rare glimpse into her busy life and work, which often is confidential, said her mother, Tajah Sprecher.

Sedney's stepfather, Randy Sprecher, said he was not sure about her going into neurosurgery because of the high burnout rate.

"But she absolutely loves it," he said. "And she has gifted hands."

A pianist and artist, Sedney was always skilled at working with her hands, he said.

Since childhood, Sedney wanted to use her skills in the medical field, her mother said.

When Sedney was 2 years old, her father, Justin Sedney, died of pancreatic cancer, Tajah Sprecher said.

Both losing her father and volunteering at the Community Free Clinic, helped shaped Sedney's decision to become a doctor, her mother said.

Having observed a neurosurgeon while in school, Sedney said she discovered that neurosurgery was her calling in medicine.

Neurosurgery is a male-dominated field, and being a young female in the field likely caught the eye of the producers while they were filming, Sedney said.

Having a camera on her heels for months did not affect her doing her job, even though it was awkward walking the hallways with a camera, she said.

"When I was in surgery, I paid them no attention," she said.

Though the episode features the doctors, Sedney said the true stars are the patients. To her, they are nothing short of brave.

"They go through something so horrible, I can't imagine," she said. "This gave them a chance to tell their stories."

Not every patient agreed to share their stories with ABC's cameras, Sedney said.

Because many of the cases seen in the neurosurgery department involve trauma and are extremely sensitive, it limited what could be shown on television, she said.

One of her cases, a baby, could make the episode, she said. Sedney said she does not know what footage will be included in the final cut.

In a preview of the upcoming episode, Sedney was shown talking about the baby.

"When I saw her on the preview, I was like, 'Touchdown!'" Randy Sprecher said.

Randy Sprecher spread word of the episode, he said, because the more viewers the show has Thursday, the more apt ABC is to do more shows like the one featuring his step-daughter.

Sedney won't be one of those viewers.

She is on call Thursday night, she said.

"I'm nervous about it (the show). I don't want to watch myself," Sedney said. "I'll try to watch it later, though."

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