When Dr. Jeff Alling, a family physician, moved to Wise County more than 20 years ago, he was one of only two doctors in the rural North Texas community qualified to deliver babies. Since then, he has delivered more than 2,000.
“I’ve got 12 little babies that I delivered their mothers 18 or 20 years ago, so I’m kind of on my second generation,” he said.
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This article is available online at texastribune.org/2013/06/23/policy-keeps-some-rural-doctors-delivery-room/
Central Texas policies
Central Texas hospitals that serve rural areas allow family medicine doctors to deliver babies in their hospitals, although there are caveats.
Highly qualified family medicine physicians can handle routine deliveries, coordinated with obstetricians, at Temple-based Scott & White Healthcare, but they would not be permitted to do so if the mother is at high risk for complications, said Dr. Donald Wesson, chief academic officer.
“Those patients must be referred to high-risk maternal-fetal medicine specialists,” regardless of which type of doctor the patient used previously, Wesson said in an email.
Wesson also pointed out that compared with a family doctor, the graduate of a residency program in obstetrics and gynecology “has more focused training on Ob/gyn routine care and dealing with complications, including performing Caesarean section.”
At Seton Healthcare Family hospitals, family doctors with privileges to deliver babies are required to have completed a three-year residency in family medicine and a yearlong obstetric fellowship in family medicine, spokeswoman Adrienne Lallo said.
“Seton hospitals in rural settings do not have labor and delivery units,” Lallo said in an email. “A baby who surprises mom early could deliver in the emergency department.”