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Doctoring in a family way

May 21, 2013 • Family Planning, United States, News

Doctoring in a family way

A proposed policy change would eliminate reproductive training for GP residents, which would put such care out of reach for many women.

See: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-block-reproductive-rights-20130515,0,5445251.story

Jennifer was one of my first patients as a new doctor, and she came to see me about an unintended pregnancy. A single mom to a rambunctious 5-year-old girl, Jennifer was struggling economically and battling depression. We talked about the options available to her: continuing the pregnancy and preparing to parent another child, offering the baby for adoption or having an abortion. She chose to continue with the pregnancy, and I worked with her over the following months as she struggled with the discomforts of pregnancy, excessive weight gain and the anxiety of having to raise two small children on her own.

 

Seven months later, I delivered Jennifer’s beautiful baby boy. Six weeks after that, I saw Jennifer, her new baby and her 5-year-old for a joint checkup. We discussed colic, diet and exercise, her daughter’s ADHD and birth control. During Jennifer’s visit, I placed an IUD, a long-acting intrauterine contraceptive device, so that her next pregnancy could be by choice and not by chance.

 

These are the types of relationships that inspired me to become a family doctor: intergenerational, continuous care for patients of all ages, inclusive of all healthcare needs.

 

New policies proposed in April by the Residency Review Committee for Family Medicine, or RRC, the group that outlines requirements for physician training programs nationwide, threaten to interfere with that comprehensive care and to decrease reproductive health access for women like Jennifer.

 

The proposed RRC changes would eliminate the current requirement that family medicine residents learn full-scope reproductive healthcare. Instead, the decision to teach these skills would be up to the discretion of individual residency programs. Family doctors would no longer be required to learn how to prescribe birth control, place intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants, provide options counseling for women with unintended pregnancies or diagnose and manage miscarriages.

 

To read the full story, please click here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-block-reproductive-rights-20130515,0,5445251.story



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