Interview with Dr. Randi Rothstein

Lambert Chu: Hello Dr. Rothstein. Can you please start by telling us about your occupation?

Dr. Randi Rothstein: Sure, I'm an OBGYN (obstetrics and gynaecology). I work in a private practice in Bayside, and we operate and deliver babies at a North Shore Hospital in Manhasset.

LC: Can you please describe the recovery process of a patient after giving birth?

RR: Well, it depends if they have a vaginal delivery or a cesarian section. A vaginal delivery, obviously the recovery is much quicker because there's no surgical incision. People who have a vaginal delivery are usually out of the hospital within 24 to 48 hours, and they're usually pretty mobile... right after the delivery we have them getting up quickly. After a cesarian section the recovery is obviously a lot longer. They're usually in the hospital for about 3 to 4 days. Once the patients leave the hospital, after a cesarian section, it's probably a good 4 weeks until they're back to full activity. During those 3 to 4 weeks initially after the surgery, the first 2 weeks they're not allowed to drive, no heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks. No true physical activity such as the gym... they really need to let their bodies heal and recover from the operation.

LC: If there's a bad outcome for the mom or the baby, how does it affect you and the patient?

RR: Well, fortunately, most outcomes of obstetrics, you're dealing with healthy young women. For the most part, we have good outcomes. Unfortunately, there are times when we have fetal demises. A full time fetal demise is probably the absolute worst thing for the physician and the patient to deal with. I don't think the patient and their family ever get over it. As a physician, I don't think we ever get over it either. It leaves a lasting impression. For the patient, we have a lot of things in the works to help them recover. We have a social worker who is actually in the hospital that sees them in the first 24 hours. We strongly encourage them to get involved in what's called our bereavement group. That's a group of people who have all been through similar, horrible experiences where they've had a loss.

LC: How many surgeries do you typically perform per day?

RR: Some days, when we're on call, we can do even up to 5 to 6 deliveries in  a 24 hour period.

LC: It must be tiring for you to perform so many surgeries in a short period of time. How do you typically recover from so much work?

RR: We do have a sleep room there at the hospital for attendings, so if we get a break in between we do try to sleep a little in between the deliveries or the surgeries. That doesn't always happen. The truth is that sometimes, I am tired. I drink a decent amount of coffee the next day to stay awake to peform my duties. Something happens when you go into the operating room, your natural endorphins kick in, and even if you are tired you tend to wake up. For the most part, if somebody is really exhausted, we try to get somebody else in to relieve him.