Baby doctor due soon

Whidbey General Hospital is expecting a new obstetrician and gynecologist to arrive in January.

Contract negotiations were concluded this week to bring Dr. Robert Burnett to Whidbey Island from Ketchikan, Alaska.

“This means we will have two full-time OB/GYNs,” said Scott Rhine, hospital CEO.

The hospital board decided Sept. 12 that finding a second OB/GYN is critically important to patients — given the island’s location and transportation issues for pregant women who sometimes need sudden medical expertise.

After all, “deliveries tend to be unexpected,” Rhine said.

The pressure to find another doc was on the hospital because Dr. Kenton L. Sizemore leaves Whidbey at the end of this month. The lone full-time OB/GYN, Dr. Lucie Riederer, plans to discontinue gynecological surgeries other than cesarean sections and tubal ligations.

Dr. John Eggers, who practiced medicine on the island from 1999 to 2002, will help Riederer with the surgery caseload until Burnett arrives and probably beyond, Rhine said.

Now that the ink is drying on the contract, Rhine said it’s OK to talk about Burnett’s arrival. He said the doctor is originally from Washington, spending most of the past 20 years practicing medicine in Hawaii before moving to Alaska.

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