Meera S. Garcia, MD

Specialty: Obstetrics & Gynecology

NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Hudson Valley

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What is a common misconception about your specialty?

I’ve always found that women think that Ob-Gyns only deliver babies. Ob-Gyn is one of the few specialties that really can take care of a woman from the early teens through their adult years, including after menopause. We identify problems and we can take care of the problem. We can do surgery. We can take care of complications of pregnancy. We can take care of patients as they go through menopause, bleeding issues, post-menopausal issues.


What services does a high-risk obstetric facility offer that a typical facility doesn’t?

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One of the positives for NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital is that once they became part of New York-Presbyterian and the Columbia University School of Medicine, we were able to really up the ante with the services we could provide for our high risk-patients. We are able to not just do our job well because of our training and our experience, but we also have access to the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. And along with that, comes access to the Mother’s Center. So we can take care of pregnant women who otherwise would have to go into the city or go far away for their care. These are women with heart disease. These are women with heart failure. These are women who have very complex problems with their uterus.


What doesn’t medical school teach you about your field?

What neither [medical school or residency] really prepares you for are the intense relationships, the friendship and camaraderie you get with your patients in practice, whether it’s academic practice or a private practice. Not to sound cheesy, but you cry with the patients. You laugh with the patients. You share special moments. You share very personal details. A lot of times, they’ll start off by saying, “Well, I didn’t know who to go to, but I felt comfortable talking to you and I figured I’d start with you and either end with you or you would refer me to someone who can help me.” That amazing relationship, that you walk in their shoes, they walk in your shoes. It’s bonding that happens. It’s something that I don’t think any school can really prepare you for. And it’s been one of the most satisfying things about my career.


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Do women often shy away from seeking treatment for pelvic floor disorders? And if so, why? And what would you like to say to them?

I think society has changed in a way where, if someone comes to a physician and says, “I’m having this leakage of urine after childbirth or stool incontinence”, they’re not told, “That’s the wounds of war” or “Childbirth does this to you and there’s nothing you can do for you.”

The stigma has been taken out of it because these women don’t feel alone. And we have doctors who are willing to speak with them about it, willing to engage them, willing to examine them, find out what’s going on, willing to refer them. Doctors know more. They have more treatment modalities, so they’re equipped to give them the options. And now with minimally invasive surgery options, including the robotic and laparoscopic surgeries offered at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, patients are actually expecting and taking surgical options to address these conditions as well as trying the nonsurgical options.


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