When I started out in practice, I worked at one of the few hospitals in the area that accepted Jehovah Witness patients. Their beliefs prohibit them from accepting blood transfusions or blood products. Many hospitals are concerned about the liability of allowing a patient who refuses necessary blood products to die. For this reason, these institutions are not welcoming to Jehovah Witnesses. This is of special concern in surgical specialties ...

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This happened in my first couple years of practice, but I will never forget her. I stood at the doorway of the funeral home, a 26-year-old mother lying in the open casket was off to the side. Standing out among the crowd of mourners was a tall man holding his one-year-old daughter, her curly locks of hair bouncing as he moved. Soon after they were married, she became pregnant. They were a ...

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The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) estimates that the U.S. will have between 6,000 and 8,800 fewer OB/GYNs than needed by the year 2020.  Additionally, there is a possible shortage of 22,000 by the year 2050. What is being done about this problem?  Well, there are currently efforts to attempt to increase the number of residency positions.  There is also talk of having nurse midwives take a greater role.  While those are valid ...

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In striking contrast to the happenings in the U.S. Congress, Kate Middleton, future queen of England, spoke these words at London's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on the occasion of a launch of educational films dealing with maternal mental health:

Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother, It is full of complex emotions of joy, ...

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I’m not here to tattle. No siree, Bob. I’ll save that for my kids. But what I am here to do is spell out a story in which I ended up down in the dumps. A medical mistake happened. To me. On me. I’ll never forget it. I can’t because I carry it with me forever. Here’s the short of the long: My obstetrician messed up. She took care of my pregnancy during one of the most ...

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Despite living in Michigan for over 30 years, my cold hands disclose my Southern California origin. As a physician, these cold hands have touched many lives. For my pregnant patients, they usually sigh with relief as I touch their bellies, the coolness of my hands offering them respite from the inferno growing inside them. They smile when I tell them I can feel their baby squirming and how it is ...

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The stretcher was wheeled into the operating room.  I had been in this room on three prior occasions, under very different circumstances. But today, as I lay flat on the table, listening to the small talk around me, I tried to breathe against the weight of the baby and the pressure of the procedure.  My husband will later tell me it happened so quickly, but for me, time stood still ...

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When Barbara (name changed) recently underwent her fourth Cesarean section, she was appalled by the care she received during her recovery.  Her catheter overflowed, and a CNA asked her to check her own incision.  When the CNA asked if she was breastfeeding her baby, Barbara replied tearfully that she couldn’t lift her out the bassinette.  Rooming-in is a great idea. Unless you’ve had a 36-hour labor or major abdominal surgery. Pregnant ...

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As a gynecologist, I not only witness new love but have to regularly ask about it because it can impact my patient’s health. They may need birth control, STI screening and counseling, or pre-conceptual counseling. Then there is one of my favorite group of patients: those that are “older” and entering into new relationships either for the first time or following a divorce or loss of a spouse. The balance ...

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After eight years of practicing obstetrics and researching childbirth in the United States, I know as well as anyone that the American maternal health system could be better. Our way of childbirth is the costliest in the world. Our health outcomes, from mortality rates to birth weights, are far, far from the best. The Conversation The reasons we fall short are not ...

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