Caroline Hennessey knows a great doctor when she meets one.
"I am leaving to move to California in a week, but if I get pregnant again, I will travel back to the Jersey Shore to deliver with Dr. Patel,” said Caroline. “He is a champion in his field!”
Caroline first met Dr. Patel during a routine visit. She had come upon him as a recommendation from a friend’s mother, who happened to be a registered nurse.
“I was still seeing my OB/GYN from my hometown in New Hampshire but I needed an appointment quickly,” recalls Caroline. “It was actually pretty funny, I came in for what I thought was something else and during my exam Dr. Patel told me I was pregnant.”
Caroline had previously traveled for all her appointments because she trusted in and had a great relationship with the OB/GYN who had delivered her first daughter. But after that initial appointment, Caroline decided to switch to Dr. Patel. And, according to Caroline, the decision was pretty easy. “He was so personable, comforting and compassionate and he just seemed so knowledgeable, competent and current,” she explained. “I knew he could answer any question and that I would never be uncomfortable asking it.”
For Caroline, everything about the second pregnancy and delivery was different—and she thanks Dr. Patel for that. “In my first pregnancy, I gained more than 100 pounds when I was pregnant with Indigo due to an existing thyroid condition,” said Caroline, “but Dr. Patel monitored me so closely when I was pregnant with Clover that I only gained 30 pounds during this last pregnancy. And my delivery was so much easier. I didn’t feel a thing! It was like we were just having a conversation and I wasn’t in labor. He even put my husband at ease.”
For Caroline, the entire pregnancy and birth experience with Clover (whom she affectionately calls her “Lucky Clover”) was just amazing. “I tell all my girlfriends about Dr. Patel,” said Caroline. “I just find his whole practice to be amazing. From the friendliness of the staff, to his skills and expertise, to his accessibility: I always feel like I am in good hands!”
Christina Summerfield knew what she wanted in an OB/GYN when she and husband James learned they were expecting their daughter, Isla.
She wanted a doctor who would devote plenty of time and attention to caring for her. She found that in Sagar Patel, M.D., a Riverview Medical Center OB/GYN.
For many years, Christina had been seeing an OB/GYN in New York City, where she and James used to live and work. They had moved to Locust by the time Isla was conceived, and Christina wanted an OB/GYN closer to home. She asked friends and relatives for recommendations and checked the Meridian Health Web site for a list of possible doctors. That's where she found Dr. Patel.
"I felt immensely comfortable with Dr. Patel at my initial consultation," says Christina. "He was warm and friendly. He took time to learn about my history and needs and the care I wanted. He also explained how he likes to manage his pregnant patients and gave me an overview of what to expect."
That's exactly what Dr. Patel aims for. “It’s important to me to be accessible and to treat each patient as an individual. I love teaching patients about obstetrics, and I want them to leave my office with all their questions answered,” says Dr. Patel.
Such dedication from the doctor and his staff served Christina well in the coming months — from her bout with a nasty stomach virus to an emergency cesarean section.
“Whenever I looked up and needed someone to explain what was going on and what my choices were, Dr. Patel was there guiding me,” says Christina. “I felt able to make decisions without being rushed.”
On October 12, 2009, Isla arrived, and Christina says happily, “We’re all doing well!”
Having a baby is an exciting time, but it can also be an anxious one.
Women may have concerns about an underlying medical condition, their upcoming birth experience, or the health of their baby. It’s normal to worry sometimes. But trusting in your physician to support, understand, and guide you through the process is essential.
Cynthia Fornicola knows too well the importance of having a doctor she can trust. Cynthia was pregnant with her first child when she began to have medical problems.
By the time she was six months pregnant, Cynthia’s heart rate shot up dramatically and she was raced to the emergency department. Cynthia was diagnosed with a condition called supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). SVT can cause the heart to beat so fast that it can become hard to breathe. Cynthia’s condition was managed with medication by her cardiologist.
But she felt disconnected from her OB/GYN and decided to switch doctors. That’s when she called the office of Dr. Patel.
“On that first call to his office, Dr. Patel himself got on the phone and listened to my entire story. He addressed every concern I had and assured me he would take care of me,” remembers Cynthia. “He was so compassionate and knowledgeable.”
This level of compassionate attention — what some may consider going above and beyond expectations — is normal for Dr. Patel. In fact, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I treat each patient as if she were my only patient,” explains Dr. Patel. “I put my patients in control — giving them the time they need, answering all of their questions, and teaching them as much as I can. I believe trust is the most important thing in a physician-patient relationship. It’s not enough to be a knowledgeable physician if you don’t really listen to the patient.”
Cynthia’s pregnancy wasn’t easy. She was rushed to Riverview Medical Center by ambulance two more times for her SVT. Each time, Dr. Patel was there, providing support and assuring Cynthia that her baby was OK. Today, Cynthia is the mother of Ava, a healthy baby girl. She credits her positive experience to Dr. Patel and is relieved to have a doctor who makes her so comfortable.
“As OB/GYNs, we are in a unique position. Patients come to us, entrusting us with the birth of their child,” says Dr. Patel. “No matter what road the patient has been on — through difficulties getting pregnant, a high-risk medical or obstetrical condition, or a normal pregnancy — it’s our job to be there for them.”