Sunday, October 21, 2007

OB-Gyn numbers

"Oh, I would never want to do OB." I hear this frequently from my doctor colleagues. Funny, because I can't see myself doing anything else.

But there's trouble in River City. We are being hit left and right...malpractice insurance, hours, inability to recruit young blood to the profession, a noble calling and a genuinely joyful one. OB-Gyn is among the oldest of the medicinal specialties - you can read about early Egyptian ways of birth control!

But we're dying. When I joined this town, just a few years ago, I was the 7th one in town. We're now down to 5 - with the addition of the new doctor last month. The smaller, outlying towns are losing OBs at a rapid rate - the town 30 minutes north of us, lost 1 out of 2. The two towns 20 minutes to the east have lost 2 out of 4. The town 30 minutes south has lost 1 out of 4. The town 40 minutes northwest, 1 out of 2. All of these within the last 3-6 months! And many were for health reasons - the docs were getting old and having some serious issues.

That is the face of rural healthcare. I'm in the largest town...but we still have only about 35K. Most of the other towns are around 15K. Recruiting takes time...very few people want to come to a rural area (I'm an anomaly). I live an hour from the nearest Target/Sam's Club via the interstate. It's almost 2 hours to a decent mall.

I don't have a solution. But we need to acknowledge this.

1 comment:

Pandora said...

Interesting that you should write this and I should read this today because my fiancé and I were having the same discussion yesterday. There is NO WAY that when he's done with his GI fellowship that he'd have picked to go to a small town rural area. Except that he met me- and I've have it no other way. We were laughing that one of the most compelling forces- other than money- is lust/love and that in addition to monetary incentives, they should have a task force of beautiful, articulate ladies living in the small town that are dedicated to attracting and keeping the specialists in town. It was a joke, but it made me think :)