Eric C. Nielson, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
Dear Valued Patients,
This has been the most difficult letter I have ever written. It is with heartfelt apologies that I inform you
that I will be closing my OB/GYN practice effective September 30, 2017. Be assured, this decision has not been taken lightly. It has been thoroughly evaluated and has been emotionally exhausting. I am heartbroken, but steadfast, in my decision.
Twenty-three years ago, I began my practice at St. Mark’s Hospital and vowed to always be available for my patients. And, with the exception of the occasional vacation or incredibly important event in the lives of my children, I have kept that vow. I have had professional partners through the years, but have chosen to come in for all my own deliveries, day or night. I believe all patients want their trusted doctor to be present for their delivery. And, after developing a close relationship with my patients, I too wanted to be there to see the culmination of the journey. For me, the practice of medicine has truly been a calling, and not just a job.
However, always being “on call” has been challenging and exhausting. I have carried my pager/cell phone with me day and night and have had to be able to get to the hospital within minutes. I have missed many of my children’s games and performances in anticipation of an upcoming delivery. I have missed family dinners and holiday gatherings. I have taken an additional vehicle to every movie, restaurant, or concert, with the anticipation of leaving early. I have missed out on family recreational activities in order to stay within twenty to thirty minutes of the hospital. However, I have done this faithfully for you all, to help ensure a safe labor and delivery experience for you and your baby. I would not trade those incredible experiences for anything. That is why I chose this specialty in the first place.
However, being “on call” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, for twenty-three years is not sustainable. It is for this reason that I am making this difficult decision. Some people ask me why I don’t just join a larger group and only come in when I am truly on call. However, those people do not know me very well. I know, deep in my heart, that if I were home and knew one of you were in labor, I would not be able to decline to come in. I care about you all too much to stay home. Therefore, that practice model would not work for me. I need a new path.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to be offered a job as an OB Hospitalist at St. Mark’s Hospital. I will be working shifts in Labor and Delivery, taking care of OB and GYN emergencies at the hospital, providing a safer Labor and Delivery unit, and performing deliveries and cesarean sections when the patients’ providers have yet to arrive. However, I will no longer have my own patients. My skills and interests are primarily focused in Labor and Delivery and High-risk obstetrics. This new position will allow me to continue to be involved in the miracle of life, yet will also allow me countless days off each month with no call or clinical responsibilities. For the first time in my life, I will be able to pursue interests to the fullest, develop friendships outside of work and truly be there for my family. My family has sacrificed so much to allow my career pursuits, and it is time that I give back. I would like to make important memories with them before I pass on, and this new career will allow that.
The aspect of my decision that absolutely breaks my heart is leaving you all. I have grown close to many of you through the years. Helping bring your children into the world will do that. I have enjoyed laughing with you at appointments and supporting you through difficult times. I have loved watching your faces when you see your child for the first time. I have enjoyed catching up on your lives whenever you come in. I have loved hearing how the children I have delivered are growing up. For many of you, we have spent a lot of years together. You are not just my patients. You are also my friends. And I will miss that most of all.
There are many wonderful OB/GYN providers out there. I feel the best respect you can pay a provider is to refer someone you know to them and I highly encourage you all to look to friends and family for referrals. I know providers as colleagues, but your friends and family know how their providers actually treat them and are a great resource for your future medical needs. It is my hope that you all will find a
new provider with the depth of caring and dedication that you deserve.
Through a custodianship agreement, your medical records will be stored by and available through St. Mark’s OB/GYN at (801) 268-6811, by fax at (801) 268-8673, or by visiting www.stmarksobgyn.com. You are welcome to continue your care with one of their providers, or, alternatively, have your medical records forwarded to a provider of your choosing.
I wish you all the best and I hope you all have many years of health, happiness, and safe deliveries. I am truly honored and humbled to have been able to help take care of you for all these years. Thank you for your dedication and trust.
Eric C. Nielson, M.D.