Taylor Thurstonson believes patients can always tell when doctors and nurses care about their job.

That is the feeling she had when she was under the care of Dr. Joyce Muruthi, an OB-GYN at the University of Texas Medical Branch Women’s HealthCare clinic in Friendswood during her last pregnancy this past fall.

“I feel like she is my friend and that she really cares about you as a patient,” said Thurstonson, a mother of two. “As a patient, you can tell whether a nurse or doctor likes their job, and I could always tell they cared at UTMB.”

Thurstonson said one factor that made her choose an OB-GYN at UTMB was the positive word of mouth about the local clinics.

“I had heard really good things about them, and all the OB-GYNs had excellent reviews online as well which pushed me to go there,” Thurstonson said. “Every staff member I came in contact with was amazing. The whole office was absolutely incredible.”

Dr. Kimberlyn Robinson, the on-call doctor at the UTMB Health Clear Lake Hospital Campus when Thurstonson delivered unexpectedly at 30 weeks via an emergency C-section, was forced to take charge of the situation without Muruthi present. Thurstonson described her experiences with Muruthi in her pre and postnatal care as being phenomenal, and she credited Robinson, an OB-GYN at the UTMB Health Women’s HealthCare clinic in Clear Lake, for keeping her and her son healthy.

“We had been closely monitoring my son with ultrasounds leading up to his birth,” Thurstonson said. “Things did get crazy, but I felt like we were both in good hands [with the doctors at UTMB].”

Muruthi said UTMB staff always strive to provide quality patient care in a collaborative way; because UTMB has a large number of specialists, they are able to meet the health care needs of their patients.

“We also are at the cutting edge of research—working toward innovative solutions toward health care problems,” Muruthi said. “Lastly, as an academic institution, we are responsible for educating the next generation of medical professionals. We take great pride in doing that to a high standard.”

Becoming a doctor was a choice Muruthi made at a young age. She was drawn to medicine because of the ability to make a difference in people’s lives while forming relationships over time with patients.

“It’s a privilege to have patients trust me with their care in some of their most vulnerable moments,” Muruthi said. “I specifically chose UTMB because of its excellent reputation and commitment to providing access to care for the communities of southeast Texas.”

One of the most important things when it comes to prenatal and postnatal care is an open patient-doctor relationship, Muruthi said.

“Each prenatal and postpartum period is different for every person and every pregnancy,” she said. “A strong doctor-patient relationship ensures that each need is addressed for patients. Patients should feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns and trust that their provider will listen, take their complaints seriously, and address them.”

UTMB's expansive network of care providers ensures patients are connected to the experts they need when time is critical. Thurstonson's story exemplifies why choosing where to receive care is so important.

“Having access to a wide network of experts is important,” Muruthi said. “As an OB-GYN, I only have expertise in one area. Being able to refer my patients to a specialist allows me to provide more comprehensive care and ensure that all of my patient’s health care needs are being met.”

UTMB has a wide range of specialties, which allows for better patient care, according to Robinson.

“These specialists are only a phone call away,” she said. “I think that is very important to the care of the patients.”

There is always someone available at UTMB facilities to help patients in need.

“Just remember, even if it is not during typical business hours, the hospital and access center line is always open,” Robinson said. “There is always a way to get in touch with someone at UTMB. If you have questions about something, those questions [will be answered]. IIf it is something more emergent, the ER and labor and delivery is always open. Don’t ever feel like you are alone when it comes to something with the pregnancy.”

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