“NINETY PERCENT OF MEDICINE IS JUST LISTENING, JUST BEING THERE.”
By Shannon Morgan
Dr. Leslie Apgar is passionate about her work at the Women’s OB/GYN Group, an affiliate of Saint AgnesHospital located in Columbia. The all-female practice, founded in 1991 by Drs. Carol Emerson, Brenda Brandon and Nancy Hammond, takes a collaborative approach to medicine.
The physicians, who come from a variety of backgrounds, operate by committee and work together to provide consistent care to their patients. Each Friday, the team meets to discuss its high-risk patients. The goal is to provide each patient with the best treatment plan possible.
“We’re a big practice that feels small,” says Dr. Apgar who joined the practice 14 years ago and specializes in minimally invasive surgery, like laparoscopic hysterectomy. “We have meaningful relationships with our patients. We sit down and have conversations with them about their care.”
The female staff helps put women at ease, says Dr. Apgar. “Women want to see women. We know what it feels like to have a menstrual cycle, to be pregnant, to give birth.” The doctors in the practice, she says, “experience a very intimate, personal journey with our patients.”
At the Women’s OB/GYN Group, there’s an emphasis on treating the whole woman, on promoting health and wellness, and on having an open mind. The practice offers conveniences like an onsite lab and its own ultrasound equipment. The group also offers services for teens.
“I speak the language,” says Dr. Apgar, who has a teenage daughter. “We provide that safe place to talk about sex, drugs, alcohol. We provide a nice introduction into women’s health.”
The Mirena IUD has drastically reduced the need for hysterectomies.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Out of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually, fewer than 20 percent are performed laparoscopically. Saint Agnes Hospital performs 90 percent of its hysterectomies laparoscopically.
Saint Agnes Hospital: The fertility rate in Maryland is 60.8 percent.
Centers for Disease Control: 29.3% of births in Maryland are via Cesarean.