Male vs female. It is a debate that often stretches into choosing a physician and resonates within many specialities. However, obstetrics and gynecology are among the most, if not the most, impacted by gender preferences in choosing a physician. The story behind this change is an unexpected one.
Until the 1970s, obstetrics and gynecology was a male-dominated field. Nearly every physician was male, mostly because most programs only recruited and accepted male residents. The specialty was “too demanding” for females, especially the surgical aspects. When training here in San Antonio, I became the first female trained OBGYN to graduate from the program and witnessed a remarkable transformation in the field first hand.
Shortly after graduating, I realized the power that a woman held in this field. As my practice endorses, a woman is uniquely positioned in her care of other women. She understands, empathizes, and connects with her patients in a unique manner. This connection was evident within days of beginning practice and has remained ever since. In many ways, it is a sustaining force for me as I practice medicine through such dramatic changes in the healthcare landscape.
The purpose of this entry is not to demean the potential for men in our field. In fact, the opposite is true. Some women prefer a male OBGYN and, interestingly, the field is now female-dominated. But, it is important to acknowledge the connection that a female OBGYN has with her patients and acknowledge the dramatic transition that women – both patients and physicians – have witnessed in the gender of doctors practicing.
Irrespective of my gender, I endeavor to fulfill basic commitments to my patients. I believe that these commitments serve as a sound basis for patients to trust me with their care – more so than a mere gender preference.0