Dr. Nagy's father was an autoworker and his mother a hairdresser - immigrants hoping for a better life for their son.
Ferenc P. Nagy, M.D., credits his parents for where he is today — a successful vascular surgeon doing a job he loves. They encouraged him to get the education they didn’t have.
His father was a toolmaker for Ford and General Motors. His mother was a hairdresser. They viewed education as a way for their son to go further than they did.
“They wanted better for me than they had. They didn’t want to see me go through the same hardships they did,” said Dr. Nagy, who grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. Nagy’s parents were immigrants looking for a better life. His father fled Hungary after the Soviet invasion in 1956. He was 12. His mother came from Italy when she was 7.
“They were refugees, so no one really wanted them,” Nagy said.
‘My only hope is to do good by my patients’
The name Ferenc (pronounced Ferr-ens) Nagy is like John Smith in Hungary, he said. Growing up, he saw doctors as community leaders who helped people. That appealed to him.
Dr. Nagy went to Michigan State University and then medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit. He completed a general surgery residency at St. John Hospital Medical Center in Detroit and then a fellowship in vascular surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is board certified in general surgery and vascular surgery.
Dr. Nagy said he trained under three excellent vascular surgeons who were outstanding teachers.
“They made it very easy to want to do what they did,” Dr. Nagy said.
“I just really enjoy what I do. I can’t see myself ever doing anything else. My only hope is to do good by my patients,” Dr. Nagy said. “They always come first. I’ll bend over backward for my patients.”
Helping patients understand what’s happening
As the son of parents who sometimes struggled with understanding their second language, Dr. Nagy makes sure he explains things clearly to patients, without using medical jargon.
“If people have questions, I’ll sit and talk to them and make sure they understand,” Dr. Nagy said.
Part of that communication is being completely honest with his patients. Often, whether vascular surgery has complications, or succeeds or fails long term depends on a patient’s lifestyle after surgery.
“I’m willing to take the time to try to educate people. Without that education, people don’t understand what they’re getting into,” Dr. Nagy said. “I’ll be tough on them. It’s tough love.”
At the same time, Dr. Nagy said he is fiercely loyal to his patients.
“I’m never, ever going to abandon a patient or give up on anybody,” he said.
Dr. Nagy moved to Kentucky after his medical training. He says he loves his adopted state. He doesn’t drink much but says he likes bourbon.
Dr. Nagy is married with three children, a 10-year-old son and daughters who are 7 and 5. He volunteers with his son’s Boy Scout troop. He also enjoys reading, recreational target shooting, playing tennis and golfing — although he doesn’t have time to play much golf.
My life is pretty boring — I don’t skydive. I don’t race cars. I like to stay fit. I like to be with my wife and kids,” Dr. Nagy said.