Top Geraldton doctor walks from delivery room after 35 years

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Dr Ian Taylor has taken a step back from baby delivery. Here he gets his little Freo supporter checked by registered nurse Sharon Clough.
Camera IconDr Ian Taylor has taken a step back from baby delivery. Here he gets his little Freo supporter checked by registered nurse Sharon Clough. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton doctor Ian Taylor has delivered his last baby.

The obstetrician of 35 years, who has seen “easily more than 1000” births, officially retired from the delivery room in June.

Looking back on more than three decades of pregnancies, Dr Taylor said the biggest changes to birth included the now frequent use of epidurals, leading to a reduced caesarean rate and the new technologies allowing doctors to monitor and anticipate babies’ wellbeing, replacing the “guesswork” of the 1970s.

He said maternity care had transformed into a team activity which actively included the mother.

“The midwives, who basically do all the work, and I constantly make sure the woman feels part of the team and not just something that has to be dealt with,” Dr Taylor said.

“Having a baby is a very personal experience, so it’s important it be a great one.”

The father of three, who removed his stethoscope and took up “Dad’s role” when his own children were born, said having extended family in the delivery room was also fairly new.

“Dads used to be excluded from the delivery suite, now it’s common for them and even other family members to be in there,” Dr Taylor said.

“Back in the 60s, birth used to be very clinical and artificial.

“Now it’s more comfortable, natural and a special family moment.”

Dr Taylor, named the State’s best rural GP, is unlikely to forget the delivery room any time soon as he routinely bumps into people he delivered, some now working in Geraldton healthcare.

“I’ve also delivered the babies of babies I delivered,” Dr Taylor chuckled. “It’s a bit surreal.”

He said while people questioned his sanity as a Fremantle Dockers supporter, Geraldton had been “fabulous” to him and he hoped his experience encouraged doctors to come and stay in country towns.

Dr Taylor said for now he would retain chairmanship at the Midwest GP Network, his regular GP work and other specialities such as anaesthetics and palliative care.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails