LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Pregnant women could face difficulties when it comes to scheduling prenatal care with their doctors because according to a new study, there’s a national OB-GYN shortage.
The OB-GYN Workforce Study showed Las Vegas is at the highest risk of facing an ob-gyn shortage. Local doctors say the valley has already been dealing with the shortage, but there’s also a potential it could get even worse.
Dr. James Brent Oliver of Southwest Medical has been an OB-GYN for 22 years.
“If you’re gonna go to the hospital in the middle of the night for some reason, which we all end up doing, it’s a good reason to say, ‘hey, here’s your brand new baby,'” Dr. Oliver said.
There aren’t many doctors like Dr. Oliver anymore. According to the study, Las Vegas is the city at the highest risk of facing an OB-GYN shortage.
According to Dr. Wolfgang Gilliar, dean at Touro University, “It’s a perfect storm, and we know we have been in this situation, so this report in a way, [it] supports what we’ve known.”
Touro Univerisity, the medical school in Henderson, has tried to get ahead of the shortage for years.
“It’s a whole continuum of care, which can also go to complications as a result,” Dr. Gilliar said. “It’s actually a complex situation, and we need to do our best actually to ameliorate that.
In Las Vegas, OB-GYNs and their patients are already feeling the effects of the shortage.
“We have a lot of patients that show up to the hospital that haven’t had any prenatal care, and that’s not good for the mom or baby,” said Dr. Oliver. “So we; I’ve been seeing more and more and more of those patients that just don’t get care because it’s not available.”
Medical experts say the shortage is not easy to combat at a national level, so they look to individual hospitals and organizations to attract more physicians
“We all have to work together with the health department and with our medical society, just to make sure what we can deliver for society,” Dr. Gilliar said.
One suggestion the Touro University dean made to increase the number of OBGYNs in Las Vegas was expanding the local residency programs because many graduates end up staying in the areas where they train.