Certainly, serendipity was in play when Hugh McGowan, M.D. chose to return to the Midwest when he noticed an advertisement seeking an OB/GYN in Greenfield. He tracked down two colleagues who were in the same residency program at (the former) Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis (Dr. Thomas Jones and Dr. Lawrence Lo) who were already practicing at Hancock OB/GYN.
“When my wife and I began discussing moving back, we were bracing ourselves for a lengthy process and several months of investigation,” said Dr. McGowan. “What transpired was a relatively short time between my initial search, the interview process and a visit that assured us the community had everything we wanted.”
The 1989 graduate of University of Illinois Medical School had practiced in his hometown of Carbondale, Ill. before moving to Maine to be closer to his wife’s family; they spent the last three years in West Virginia becoming avid walkers and exercise enthusiasts. The Pennsy Trail provides the perfect place for their three-mile/one-hour walks, and The Hancock Wellness Center is a convenient, well-appointed workout facility.
“My wife was pretty adamant about two things,” says Dr. McGowan. “She had to have a decent workout facility and an ALDI. Greenfield has both.” The couple moved to the area last fall, and Dr. McGowan joined the staff in February, 2018.
During Dr. McGowan’s med school rotation, he discovered that the OB/GYN field provided a diversity of interests not found with many specialties. “It’s a procedural medicine with a wide breadth of patients who have different levels of wellness and preventative needs as well as dealing with some diseases,” he said. “I did a couple of electives that included a month at Cook County Hospital and a month in a suburban St. Louis hospital. Despite them being extremely divergent, I managed to have a positive view of OB/GYN that continues today.”
After nearly 30 years as a practicing OB/GYN, he’s quick to point out that today’s practice is remarkably different than when he began. “Of all the specialties, if you went back to 1960s it would be hard to recognize obstetrics OR gynecology, he says. “Today we approach gynecology with the last resort mentality about surgery, always beginning with the least invasive thing we can do. And the advent and advancement of laparoscopy have been evolutionary.”
Likewise, he says, obstetrics is a whole different world. “It’s hard to believe, but it’s not been that long ago that spouses were not allowed in the delivery room, women were given an anesthetic and babies were delivered by forceps,” he recounts. “When we were in our residency, the studies were just surfacing that everyone would get an ultrasound; now it’s hard to imagine pregnant mothers not having them.”
And, thanks to medical advancements made in the last several years, women facing risky pregnancies due to health factors like diabetes are lupus are delivering healthy babies in 2018. “While we’re treating pregnancy as a natural process in general, we are assisting many more mothers with potential complications through their pregnancies.”
Perhaps another significant change is in the patient herself. Women today are savvy consumers and are more health conscious than perhaps previous generations. Sometimes, in trying to educate themselves, they may mix bad information with good. Says Dr. McGowan, “You really can’t believe everything you read. Look at three or four credible sources like hospitals and universities.” A good rule of thumb: If four out of five tell you one thing, that’s probably closer to being correct, says McGowan.
“Ultimately, our office is very open to questions. We have someone on call 24 hours a day. And we try to assemble information for all of our patients to take with them that hopefully prevents unnecessary worry.”
For more information about Dr. McGowan or the Obstetrics and Gynecology Team at Hancock OB/GYN, call (317) 477-6500 or visit Hancock OB/GYN.