Q&A with Dr. Carl (Tony) Dunn
I believe that when patients are given the right information, they can usually make the correct treatment decisions and that leads to the best outcomes.
Why did you decide to become an Ob/Gyn?
For me, the field of Ob/Gyn combined all of the things I liked best about medicine. It gave me the ability to provide longitudinal care-to really get to know my patients and follow them through all of the chapters of their life, through having their family, mid-adulthood and on into and through menopause. It also gives me the opportunity to do both primary care and specialty care, such as infertility treatments, surgery, ultrasound exams and so forth. But the overwhelming part is getting to help bring new life into the world. I get to be present at the most significant event in the life of most of my patients - the birth of their children. It is an awesome privilege and responsibility, and one I never grow tired of.
What inspires you about your work as an Ob/Gyn?
The patients - their desire to know more about their bodies and the problems that are going on. I see myself as a teacher as much as a physician. I believe that when patients are given the right information, they can usually make the correct treatment decisions and that leads to the best outcomes. The nurses and other medical professionals I work with also inspire me. All of the people I am privileged to work beside each day make it their task to take care of others - to see to their every need, answer every question and make sure they are as comfortable and at ease as possible.
What are some of the most important things you feel a patient needs above and beyond standard care?
I think of the whole arena of health care much like a football team, with the patient being the team owner. The patient's friends and family are the fans. The doctors are the coaches with the patient's primary physician being the head coach and the other specialists the assistant coaches. The other health care workers, nurses, physical therapists, x-ray techs, etc. are the players - the ones in the trenches getting it done. The patient needs a good team that works together. They need to rely on each other to do their assignment to the best of their ability.
Why do you feel it is important to build relationships with your patients and give personalized care?
I need to really know my patient to know what she needs from me for her care. There are frequently choices in health care and rarely is there only one answer. The patient and I need to create the right dialogue so that she gets the information she needs to make the right choice.
What led you to practice at Scott & White? What benefits do you feel you can offer patients at Scott & White that would not be available in other practice settings?
I completed my residency training at Scott & White Hospital, so I am very familiar with this system. Working with Scott & White has so many advantages; it is hard to list them all.
First, I get to practice medicine. I don't really have to worry about running a business. I get to make decisions for my patient based on what is best for her, not some bottom line.
Second, I have immediate access to specialists in all of the Ob/Gyn subspecialties - high-risk OB, Infertility, Oncology and Urogynecology. These are colleagues, some of whom I have known for almost 25 years, whose judgment I can trust and who are always willing to help out.
Third, I get to be involved with teaching. Working with the medical students and residents in Temple and here in Waco, makes me a better doctor. It forces me to keep up. If you don't know your stuff, these guys will call you on it. I have found the best way to learn something is to prepare to teach it to someone else.
Finally, I get to spend some time giving back to the profession that has been so good to me. I have worked for several years in the area of organized medicine. I have been privileged to serve in the past as the President of the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and currently serve as an officer with the Texas District of the American College of Ob/Gyn. These groups work tirelessly to find ways to protect and improve health care for our patients. For instance, it was these groups that worked to make it possible for women to see their Ob/Gyn without having to get a referral from their primary care doctor. It would be very hard for me to take the time to be involved with these groups if I were in private practice.