I am a physician who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology
I am a rural, generalist obstetrician and gynecologist. Obstetricians take care of women who are pregnant and support them through childbirth. Gynecology is the specialty that addresses medical problems arising from the reproductive organs in women. Problems like painful, irregular, or heavy periods, pain or problems with sex, problems getting pregnant, pelvic and vaginal pain, incontinence of urine, problems with puberty or menopause, abnormal PAP smears, and cancer of the ovaries, uterus, or cervix.
Most of my patients live in the small towns and rural areas of Centre and North Wellington County. I am based in Fergus and travel weekly to Palmerston. On the gynecology side I provide office and surgical general gynecology, vaginal surgery, laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, colposcopy, urogynecology, and infertility. Most patients are referred by family doctors for management of specific issues and I refer patients on to higher levels of care in Hamilton and London as necessary. On the obstetrics side I take referrals from family doctors and midwives while sharing on-call duties with family doctors doing obstetrics in Fergus.
I am one of two OB/GYN in this area so the 35 000 or so women living here see one of us or travel to larger centres.
This is a question I get often from patients, students, and puzzled social acquaintances. I chose to be a doctor because it was a career in which I could combine an enjoyment of science and problem solving with the joy of working with people. As I went through medical school and considered each specialty, there were several things that attracted me to OB/GYN.
Delivering babies is awesome (as in the original meaning of the word – awe-inspiring and a tremendous privilege). Obstetrics is one of the only areas of medicine where patients arrive happy and go home happier.
I need to be a consultant. I need to know that in a narrow area I can manage any problem that might arise and that I can keep up with the latest research and guidelines.
I know I am a surgeon at heart. I like to work with my hands and deal with concrete, physical problems. I enjoy the environment of the operating room.
Female physicians have driven changes that make ob/gyn the surgical specialty with one of the best work-life balances. Having a family in medical school I needed to have time for them. Training in ob/gyn permitted this more than other surgical specialties.
While I am a surgeon at heart, I also enjoy the counseling and medicine side of being a physician. OB/GYN involves physiology and psychiatry as much as it does the scalpel. I enjoy this variety.
I have to struggle to be empathetic when a patient has a medical complaint I have struggled with. In training it was tough for me to empathize with someone who had a headache or cold or back pain. Deep inside I wanted to say, “I have had this problem and it didn’t slow me down. Buck-up and get back to work!” In ob/gyn I deal with problems that I will never experience. So I have to agree with the patient’s assessment of the severity of the problem and that makes it easier for me to empathize.
I enjoy the complexity of medical ethics and law. And there is lots of both in OB/GYN.