CNY has fewer doctors that deliver babies

Syracuse, New York (WSYR-TV) – Ladies, you may find yourselves waiting longer for that first pre-natal appointment – there’s a shortage of obstetricians in Onondaga County.

Surrounding areas are even worse off.

Women in Oswego County have fewer than three OBs to choose from – and Cortland County has none.

“I think it’s hard because I think there’s an expectation that we can give perfection. And if you can’t give that perfection, then you’re somehow held responsible for that,â€? says OB-GYN Dr. Jim Brown.

Brown is part of a dying breed, because malpractice suits have made it prohibitively expensive for OB-GYNs to do their jobs.

Doctors pay for malpractice insurance the way we would pay for health insurance.  The premiums for just a year of coverage?  A whopping $51,000. Some OB-GYNs are dropping deliveries altogether to spare themselves the expense.

“There is a large group at St. Joe’s who no longer does obstetrics. There’s a number of the women physicians over at Crouse who also have done the same, leaving what I think is a great void,â€? Brown says.

Another reason women are calling it quits — it’s difficult to raise a family and be on-call 24-hours a day. That leaves patients waiting longer to see a specialist.

“I think I would have been about two months pregnant, two-and-a-half months pregnant before I would have gotten in to see somebody,� says new mother Amanda Brue.

Brue shopped around until she found an OB at Brown’s practice who could see her sooner.  She was lucky.  Others may not be, should the problem get worse.

OBs have had some relief from the rising cost of malpractice insurance this year.  In August, Governor Paterson put a one-year freeze on premiums.

Copyright 2008 Newport Television LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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