I saw Dr. Te at Issaquah OB/GYN for the first 15 weeks of my pregnancy before deciding to transfer to another OB/GYN. She is nice enough - as is her nurse, Donna - but I had several concerns that added up to my decision to change doctors:
1) They're slow to schedule appointments and respond with test results. They didn’t want to schedule my first appointment until week 9-10 – very different from a friend of mine who is also pregnant and her doctor wanted her to come in at week 5, just after her home pregnancy result. Then, they were slow to respond with my first trimester genetic screening results – I was called with results 2 weeks after the test, instead of 1 week after as had been promised. They were also slow to schedule my amniocentesis, now scheduled for Week 17. The delay concerned me because I’m 38 and my blood test results came back as “slightly higher risk” for my age (1:118). Scheduling the amnio asap should have been more of a priority in my opinion.
2) I found Dr. Te was not able to clearly describe my first trimester genetic screening (nuchal translucency and blood test) results during office visit. I had questions about how my results compared to others in my age range, and was able to find better data online than from my conversation with Dr. Te - she made some guesses at incidence rates for my age, but I was able to find more accurate data with just a bit of online searching. Also I'm concerned she doesn’t keep up to date on amnio risks. She cited 1:200 risk for miscarriage due to amnio, which as I learned later is from research done in the 1970s, prior to the use of ultrasound with amnio. She did not cite more recent research (Eddleman, K. Obstetrics & Gynecology, November 2006; vol 108: pp 1067-1072) where the risk was 1:1600. I found this info online on my own.
3) I found Dr. Te was not able to clearly describe her own experiences with performing amnio in a way that imparted my confidence in her professional skill. Said she has done several hundred amnios successfully – but then went on to describe how sometimes she has to go in twice with the needle, but will never go in three times because she doesn’t “want to be the one to cause a miscarriage.” (This is probably standard procedure, but hearing her talk about it didn't make me feel confident in her abilities.) Then she shared a story of the one miscarriage from an amnio she performed, and I was left with the impression that she thought it was not a significant example because Down Syndrome was already apparent in the amnio ultrasound. According to Dr. Te, the radiologist pulled her aside prior to the amnio and told her that he could clearly see evidence of Down’s during the preparatory ultrasound. Dr. Te decided to go ahead with the amnio without discussing the radiologist's observations with the mother. If I had been the mother, given the potential risks of amnio, I would have preferred a conversation first - even if I was on the table and ready to go for the procedure.
4) I found Dr. Te not able to discuss options if there are positive results for Down Syndrome in an appropriate manner that showed lack of bias. Dr. Te seemed biased toward continuing with a pregnancy if there was a positive result. She first shared a long story of a couple who decided to continue their pregnancy after discussing with their priest. I found the religious reference inappropriate, myself being someone who considers spiritual belief a highly personal matter. She then shared a short story of a patient of hers who chose to terminate - described by Dr. Te as a single woman in her early 40s who was not married, had sexual relations with a man in a "new relationship," became pregnant unexpectedly, and decided to terminate once she found out via amnio that the baby had Down’s. The contrast of stories showed bias in my opinion – loving, married, religious couple keeps baby after talking to priest; single older woman has unwanted pregnancy from perhaps-uncommitted relationship and decides to terminate. The single woman story also didn’t make sense in that if the pregnancy was unwanted, why didn’t the woman terminate in the first trimester – why wait until 2nd trimester and amnio? Perhaps these were just "teaching stories" and not actual situations, and I don't expect doctors to be completely bias-free, but the whole conversation didn't sit well with me.
All in all, I had a marginal experience with Dr. Te. Perhaps she is competent in her actions, and I was told by Issaquah OB/GYN that she has over 16 years of experience - so I'm sure she's had plenty of satisfied patients - but I found her overall professionalism lacking.