The Start

Fresh with knowledge and positive spirit, and an idealistic view of the world and the way it ought to be, I began my medical practice in Naples, Florida, in 1978.

Kathy and I had been through a lot before we made that move. Before we arrived in Florida with three children, we had gone through an infertility workup. From a personal perspective, that experience helped me relate to my primary interest in Obstetrics, the beginning of life.

While working my way through the University of Notre Dame, I had the good fortune to land a part time job cleaning glassware and other laboratory equipment in the biology building next to my dormitory. I got to poke around a bit and became fascinated with embryos and they’re growth and development. I became friends with a Dr. Haynes who showed me many things and we became friends. He was the Resident Advisor in our dormitory and had a nice red MG which he let me borrow one weekend to drive to Chicago to visit Kathy at Rosary College in River Forest. But that is a different story for another time.

My partners in the Naples Obstetrics and Gynecology practice recruited me to join them for a couple of reasons. First, they were the only Obstetrics Group in town and were being overwhelmed with work. Every third weekend on is very hard on the body, the mind, and the family. To add another body to do the work would be a relief valve for all the above. In that the town would grow that would work for awhile without just bringing more business. That would happen eventually. But for now, the partners could plan vacations, go out to dinner, and reconnect with their families.

The second reason had to do with the burgeoning natural childbirth movement, and I had a lot of experience with both the “active” management of labor and delivery in the old school way of thinking and also with Lamaze and the natural approach. There were couples in Naples driving thirty miles up highway 41 to the more progressive Lee Memorial hospital and it’s pro family approach. They attracted many away from Naples Community Hospital. That’s dollars and cents. The hospital was favorable to my addition to the staff. It was a done deal.

The third reason was a little more controversial and risky. The partners looked to me as an alternative physician to provide care to the many pro-life women in our community who didn’t openly see my associates any longer and who actively picketed along the city sidewalks outside our office. I met with many of them privately before I joined the group and reassured them of my personal opinion and that I idealistically felt that I might be an influence and a voice for life. They hoped the picketing would stop. It didn’t and in fact the women began to harass my wife in public places life the grocery store and make threatening phone calls to my home.

Nonetheless, I was fine with my convictions and my faith. I did, however, consider leaving the group and starting my own practice. The Group and the Hospital had pretty much constructed my employment agreement together so that if I did that, not only would I be unable to practice within thirty miles of the group office, and the hospital privileges would be revoked because I had to “live” within the immediate hospital market. Slick. Catch 22. I stayed until…