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This doctor became her colleagues’ patient

According to a recent publication by the Robert Graham Center, the number of family physicians practicing high-volume obstetrics (more than 50 deliveries per year) dropped by over one-half from 2.3 percent of practicing family physicians in 2003 to 1.1 percent in 2016.1 In small corners of the country, though, innovative training programs continue to foster these skills among learners and build supportive communities for family physicians to safely practice obstetrics.

Throughout my residency training, I felt fortunate to train in one of these innovative types of places, where obstetrics remained an integral part of family medicine. As a health care provider, I believed that the care my patients received from family physicians at our health center and hospital was on par with the care provided at any other institution.

Feeling so positive about the hospital where I trained, my husband and I made the decision to deliver our second child there. When the time came to pick a provider, however, we selected my OB/GYN mentor rather than a family physician. Anticipating another “routine” vaginal delivery like with our first child, we did not expect to have much exposure to my family medicine colleagues. Perhaps some morning-after doughnuts, we imagined, but no real clinical involvement. (Of course, as anyone who has practiced obstetrics can attest, presuming any delivery will be “routine” is, indeed, the cardinal sin.)

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