New ‘laborists’ back up ob/gyns at West Boca Medical

Ever hear of a laborist? It’s the name for physicians hired to assist or stand in for maternity, delivery and women’s health, in this case at Boca Center for Women’s Care.

“This program offers in-house physicians, who are specialized obstetricians and gynecologists. They are available 24/7 to care for all your maternity, labor and delivery needs. Laborists can admit patients, provide emergency services, manage labor, and deliver babies,” West Boca Medical Center said in the announcement.

Here’s an interview with Dr. Barry Peskin, director of the new laborists program that started in May.

Q: Who are laborists?

A: We are all of board-certified obstetrician/gynecologists. We are a separate practice that the hospital is contracting.

Q: What do laborists do?

A: There’s a big move across the country and many benefits for the patients. Laborists are associated with an 83% reduction in still births in labor and a 17% reduction in major neurological developmental injuries, such as less oxygen to brain, due to waiting.

Q: What are you specifically doing?

A: Our primary role is to be available for any acute emergency. For example, a patient came in with two previous Caesarian sections with hypertension and her obstetrician was unavailable, so an emergent C-section was done. We’ll assist midwives if needed or asked.

Q: Can you sub for the patient’s private ob/gyn?

A: If a single-practice obstetrician goes on vacation, we can cover the practice, but only in-house. We also provide acute gynecological care in emergency situations, such as atopic pregnancies.

Q: How many laborists will be on duty at a time?

A: One of us. There are four of us, so we always have a backup person.

Q: Can patients request a specific laborist?  No. But I was on call last night when an attending doctor was at a different hospital, so the doctor was unavailable.

Q: Can you do specialized and normal maternity consults? For instance, this hospital has a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The announcement said laborists can interpret fetal monitors and coordinate communications in urgent situations.

A: If a nurse is monitoring a baby’s heartbeat and concerned, we can speak to the nurse and private doctor. We also provide additional education and mentorship to the nurses.

Q: Why do you think this program was needed?

A: Bottom line: There’s a big advantage to the patient in terms of safety.

By Marci Shatzman



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