Some physicians enter a patient's life in an emergency or in a period of severe pain or trauma.
Others perform scheduled surgeries or guide patients through a particular illness. A privileged few have the distinct honor of serving patients through not only that patient's life, but the lives of their children and maybe even their children's children. One specialty where that opportunity exists is obstetrics and gynecology.
There is no greater joy for physicians than helping their patients live happy and healthy lives.
"I have several patients who were babies that I delivered, and now they are pregnant and I'm delivering their babies," said Dr. Steve Lown, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health medical director of obstetrics and gynecology.
"That's what makes my job so special," explains Dr. Renee Elderkin. "I see women from the time they start puberty, follow them through their childbearing years, and then into their second change of menopause."
Metro Health recently expanded its services for women by opening a new Women's Health Center in eastern Kent County. The center highlights Metro Health's commitment to women's care and provides easy access to specialty medical services and outpatient procedures in one location.
"It's a one-stop shop," notes Dr. Elderkin. "Additionally, the new Women's Health Center helps us serve patients in an area of town that previously lacked these services."
The Women's Health Center features a spa-like atmosphere and offers 3D ultrasound, infertility evaluation and treatment, on-site mammography, gynecological exams, pregnancy and childbirth care, and menopausal care—along with dozens of other services.
"Providing women with access to care means we can be more proactive about their health," says Dr. Lown. "We can partner with them to improve their overall health instead of treating something that could have been prevented in the first place."
Treating multiple generations of women means physicians know a family's health history and whether or not there are conditions that could be passed down.
"When I treat a whole family—mother, daughter, aunts, grandmother—we are able to discuss screening for genetic conditions," said Elderkin. "Because I know them intimately, they can trust my guidance and recommendations."
Lown knows better than just about anyone how important a lifetime of care within a health system can be. He was born at Metro Health, when it was Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital.
"It's a very unique thing to not only come full circle with my patients and their lives, but to come full circle in my life as well. I have the best job."
For more information about the services available at the Women's Health Center, or to schedule an appointment, visit Metro Health.
Courtesy of Metro Health – University of Michigan Health.
Photo courtesy of Metro Health.