UK doctor discusses OB-GYN shortage in rural Kentucky areas
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) - Health experts say that not having enough OB-GYNs can reduce the level of care for women living in rural Kentucky.
Dr. Rebecca Todd is the only obstetrician gynecologist who lives in the Morehead area and works full time at UK’s St. Claire Women’s Health Unit. She says that the clinic sees thousands of women, which puts a strain on her and her staff.
“There’s only so much that one or two people can handle,” said Dr. Todd.
But the lack of women health care providers has an even bigger impact. Todd says that some of her patients have traveled hours to see her. The long distance increases the chance that women will delay much needed care.
“They can put off an evaluation like abnormal uterine bleeding, so weird bleeding from the uterus, and ultimately it turns out to be cancer,” said Dr. Todd.
Even though rural communities have medical professionals like nurse practitioners and family physicians, Dr. Todd says that sometimes women need more specialized care that only an OB-GYN can provide.
UK St. Claire is working to recruit more OB-GYNs to the area. Todd believes that can begin with finding people who already live in the community.
“People who want to live and work in rural Kentucky, especially Eastern Kentucky, are people who grew up in this area,” said Dr. Todd.
Dr. Todd says it’s important to undergo those routine health care screenings. She says if something is wrong, the sooner doctors catch it, the better.
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