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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Newest hospitalists at MWH are obstetricians

Dr. Scott Walker

An idea that started at Stafford Hospital has moved to Mary Washington Hospital and is now 6 months old. The use of obstetric hospitalists was one of the unique features of Stafford when it opened last year. With few obstetricians in Stafford County, hospital officials wanted there to be an obstetrician/gynecologist in house in case of emergencies. So they hired a South Carolina company, Ob Hospitalist Group, to have a doctor on duty at all times.

Now, hospital officials have hired the same company to start a modified version of the service at Mary Washington. Rather than bring in doctors from outside the community as it did in Stafford, Ob Hospitalist Group has hired 11 community obstetricians to provide the service.  

“The OB physicians here liked the idea of us being the ones who took care of this,” said Dr. Scott Walker, a Pratt Medical Center doctor and medical director for the new program.

The local obstetricians maintain their private practices, but they also work part time for Ob Hospitalist Group. One member of the group is at Mary Washington at all times to care for pregnant patients and those with gynecological problems.

“The goal is to improve safety,” Walker said.

Pregnant women who arrive at the hospital for a normal delivery at term are still cared for by their own doctors, Walker said. The group helps other patients, including “unassigned” patients, or those who do not have doctors, Health Department clients and those who show up in the emergency department.   

Walker estimates that the hospitalists have been seeing about 200 to 300 patients a month and have done 30 deliveries a month, or about 10 percent of the deliveries at Mary Washington.

“I kind of knew that there was a lot of volume, but I didn’t realize it until I started doing this,” Walker said.

In addition to Walker, the hospitalists are Barbara Mercado, Cynthia Wilkes, Leedylyn Stadulis, Chizoba Uzochukwu, Hector Colon, Mary Shuman, Michael Smith, Peter Pyatak, Declan Burke and William Hamilton.