Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An OB talks about what it's like to be an OB

I've had this in my "draft" folder for several months now and thought I'd finally hit "publish"!

Don't you love it when you find a new blog to follow? Some new favorites are Mothers in Medicine and Ob/Gyn Kenobi? In this post called Ob/gyns are terrible people who deserve to die, and other misconceptions, Ob/Gyn Kenobi talks about what it's like to be an OB, a female, and a mother. And most importantly, a human being who needs to sleep and eat occasionally.

An excerpt:
It's the malpractice, multi-million dollar coverage premiums to pay yearly, the threat of lawsuits for up to 18 years after the fact, shrinking reimbursement (universal for all physicians), trying to pay our staff and our overhead, having to fit more patients into the same hours in the day, trying to be a good doctor for them, trying to at least support our family since we can seldom be there to see them. It's medicine, surgery, primary care, and caring for two patients all rolled into one, and sometimes it eats at your humanity. Sometimes, you come home at the end of the day so emotionally exhausted that you have little to give to the rest of your family. Sometimes the sadness of discussing a cancer diagnosis, or miscarriage, or fetal death lasts for weeks or days. Sometimes it is impossible to *not* take your work home with you. Sometimes we care *too* much, causing us to start separating ourselves from our patients, building a wall, becoming callous, so the better to protect ourselves.


  1. The burden of the medical profession! Happens to the best of us and even the least involved sometimes. I can't work cancer floors they get me too down and I'm "only" an RD, having probably the most limited contact with pt's out of all Ancillary services.

  2. I'm not sure this inherently differs from midwifery. all those same things apply, but midwives find ways to spend more time with their patients by taking less on. Of course there is less of a "keep up with a Joneses" expectation on midwives like there is with doctors. The entire midwifery model is vastly different for these very reasons. Not to say there isn't a need for OBs, but it more healthy people went the way of midwifery, arguably there would be less patients for OBs to see--and they could theoretically meet more needs and pay more attention to each patient (for example.) Not that this would be a completely solution, b/c frankly any career in the medical professional in inherently stressful.

    This certainly pulls at my sympathies, but why would we expect it to be easy for OBs? Anyone who dedicates their career to "helping" others will surely feel this way. It's up to each person to decide how they will manage this life with their own family and without stepping on their on convictions.

  3. Sorry about the typos there. I'm going on little sleep and I have pregnancy brain ;)

  4. The post pulls at my heart strings and makes me feel less obphobic, but I don't think that excuses the inhumane treatment of patients. What it really comes down to is a broken system, which causes everyone to suffer. At this point, I feel like throwing my hands in the air and giving up. It is very similar to our economic woes, a few people who have the power to change things are making bank off of the broken system and thus have no incentive to change. As a result, everyone suffers due to their selfishness. I am pretty pessimistic about things improving. How can a culture that values competition and individualism encourage philanthropy?

  5. This is really sad. That she can't spend the time she'd like with patients, or with her family and that the high insurance makes it so she's barely solvent does make me think we need something more like the Canadian system.


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