So, how do you choose a doctor?
I readily admit that I chose my OB/GYN for two main reasons. One, she is on my insurance plan; and two, her office is about a mile away from where I work. In other words, I put convenience before everything else. And besides (I thought at the time), what does it really matter? I go once a year for my annual exam and that’s about it. Then I became pregnant with a very high-risk pregnancy. As they say, having a baby changes everything. Suddenly I wondered: Who was this physician with whom I was entrusting the most important moment of my life?
My doctor was born and educated abroad, so I couldn’t reassure myself that she had some hoity-toity Ivy League credentials. No one else I knew used her, so I couldn’t ask friends for their opinions. She worked with only one other doctor, so she wasn’t part of a big-name practice. I did like that she had privileges at Vassar Brothers (a first-rate hospital) — but beyond that, I didn’t really know much about her.
I began to really pay attention when I spoke with her. At times, her manner was somewhat brusque; but that wasn’t important to me. What I wanted — needed — to know: Was she listening to me, and did she care about me and my baby? Over time, I felt confident that she did. And shortly before giving birth, my impressions were confirmed: several nurses at Vassar Brothers told me that I was in “good hands.” I’m happy to report that my doctor took wonderful care of me through the birth of my daughter. Afterwards, I gained even more respect for her as I watched her prepare to perform two more Caesarean sections in the middle of the night — knowing that she’d still show up for appointments at her small office the next day. (I’d also like to add that, from the caring nurses to the beautiful rooms, I couldn’t have asked for a better all-around hospital experience than I had at Vassar Brothers.)
So as my little story illustrates, choosing a doctor can be a complex process. But our popular annual listing of the top doctors in the Hudson Valley — as selected by other physicians — is certainly a good place to start. Many readers tell us that they keep this issue in a safe place and refer to it frequently to help make these important choices.
There are plenty of other fun and interesting articles in this issue, too. We outline the many fabulous fairs and festivals that are happening in the Valley this summer; there is an information-packed piece about gardening with native plants (hello butterflies); and we tell you the story of an old Orange County mansion that has been transformed into a stunning boutique hotel.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief