Throwback Thursday – Dr. Amita Tripathi

Content Credits: Tanvi Achanti, Saanya Chhabra

Design Credits: Ishanvi Baranwal, Bhavya Jain

Web Post Credits: Barkha Boral

What inspired you to pursue a career in Obstetrics & Gynecology?

Pursuing a career in Obstetrics & Gynecology for me, I believe, was a combination of many factors.
Firstly, during our times, if I may be truthful, most of the women medical graduates took OBGYN as their first choice if their PG rank was good.
Secondly, I was so impressed with two of these Post Graduates Residents. Whenever they used to take our classes, they were so smart & impressive with their authority, distinct style & red stethoscope. 
Thirdly, I somehow loved the labor room high octave drama when I was working as an intern. 

Can you discuss the importance of regular screenings, such as pap smears and mammograms, in preventive care?

Nowadays, we are dealing with an endemic of various types of cancers.
Early detection can help save lives, particularly when it comes to cervical & breast cancer. Every woman needs to be informed & counselled by us about the best screening options for them & importance of early detection.
As primary care providers for most of women, as they come to us right from their adolescent period to old age for various issues, we can take this opportunity to educate, counsel & screen them. 
Especially during pregnancy, most women visit the doctor’s clinic for the first time, we can use this special opportunity to screen cervical & breast cancers.
PAP smear along with HPV Detection, coloscopy and even simple visual inspection of cervix can save many women’s life from these dreadful cancers.
Educating women about monthly self breast examination, knowledge about mammography at appropriate age is also very important.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in medicine, particularly in OBGYN?

To anyone considering a career in medicine, particularly in OBGYN, just know that you are in for a career that is never dull. You will receive immense job satisfaction, but the road ahead may be somewhat bumpy especially in the beginning. The residency period is sometimes tough & daunting, but if you love this beautiful art  & science of helping someone create a life, this is the job for you. It only needs some mental toughness, perseverance & hard work. But if you have cracked UG & PG exams, you are not someone who is intimidated by small hurdles. With super specialties like ART, Fetal Medicine, Cosmetic Gynecology, the sky is the limit. Prioritize what is important to you and make a good balance, you are going to love your vocation.

How do you prioritize self care and prevent burnout while juggling the demands on a medical career?

It is very important to make a good work – life balance. I know it’s easy to give advice but in practicality, for some people a career in OBGYN, especially at start with odd working hours, juggling with demands of job & a new life becomes very tough, mentally & physically. I personally know some people who left residency or switched specialties. 
During tough times, remembering the mantra: ” This too shall pass & I can do it”, is very helpful. 
Having support of family and friends can be helpful in navigating the demands of this career & personal life.
Sometimes one has to take tough decisions & see what is more important at that very time.
And after a certain time of career building, every thing becomes easy. One can very easily make a good work life balance. I personally love going for vacations, invest time in hobbies. I’ve even been trying to get into new hobbies, going for dance practices etc. All you have to do is out time for all the things that are important to you. Exercising, running, cycling, spending time with friends or whatever brings you joy in life.

Was there any time when you had to make a difficult ethical decision and how did you approach it?

Practicing Obstetric and Gynecology presents you with tough decisions.
I still remember one of my patients who conceived after 10 years of infertility with triplet pregnancy. As she was an elderly primigravida, we both had to take the tough ethical decision of selective fetal reduction of one of the fetuses in order to decrease chances of prematurity & various other complications. But when she delivered healthy twins at full term we felt that we made the right decision.

Can you share a specific moment where a patient’s gratitude or impact on your life has left a lasting impression on your medical journey?

One of my patients, a patient with bad obstetric history with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss & Severe Preeclamptic Toxemia had to be delivered at 29 weeks. The baby was in NICU for one & a half month. That patient’s husband got transferred to some other place but then she came to meet me after 12 years. I immediately recognized her. With her was a lovely young girl and when they told me that they had named her after me and she is a good athlete & a bright student. I almost had tears in my eyes. 
I feel so glad that I am able to bring joy in other people’s life. 

What strategies do you use to address and destigmatize discussions around FRH and sexuality in your practice ?

It is very important to be sensitive about reproductive health issues like dealing with adolescent contraception, pregnancies & Sexuality Transmitted Infections especially when we are dealing with HIV.
Presenting our opinions & advice in a non judgmental way is extremely important .When I was a postgraduate, we had not been educated properly about different types of Sexuality & Transgender issues. So unlearning & relearning is also very important. 
Educating ourselves with the latest guidelines by attending various conferences and taking advice from experts is needed.