Welcoming life into the world

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Lenox Hill OBGYN on his rewarding work that spans generations


  • Photo: V Pottinger

On the second day of the new year at Lenox Hill Hospital, Dr. Saul Stromer delivered the child of parents he delivered months apart there 19 years ago.

In practice for nearly three decades, he enjoys the fact that he gets to age alongside his patients, delivering their children and even grandchildren. The Upper East Sider, who lives one block from Lenox Hill, praises the hospital for its care for each and every patient as well as the strong comradery that exists amongst his peers.

Stromer is a native Manhattanite whose education was also all rooted here: he attended Manhattan Day School, Yeshiva University for high school and college and then NYU Medical School.

The 57-year-old intends to keep working for some time. “My ultimate goal, since I delivered that couple’s baby, is one day, God willing, I’d like to deliver a baby for their child,” Stromer said. “If she follows the path of her parents, it will be 19 years, and she will have her baby.”

When did you know you wanted to become a doctor?

Probably sometime in college and I also was leaning strongly to being an OB because overall it’s a very happy profession. It could be physically very taxing, but if you love what you do, it’s not a hassle at all.

What was your experience like at NYU?

I went there because from all the schools I was accepted to, it was one of the best. It was really phenomenal, cutting-edge medicine and education. Everything about NYU School of Medicine was fantastic.

Then you did your residency at Mount Sinai.

After residency and being a chief resident, I joined the practice at the hospital, but then moved right next door to Lenox Hill. And I went out on my own and opened my own practice. And living next door to the hospital makes a tremendous difference.

What makes Lenox Hill special?

What’s phenomenal about Lenox Hill is the way each and every patient is treated. And yes, we have had some celebrities there and I have had some celebrities, but what I like is that every single patient is treated beautifully there. The nurses are phenomenal; they really put their heart and soul into their job, making my life and my patients’ lives so much more palatable.

As far as celebrities go, you don’t treat them any differently.

Absolutely not. And most doctors that I know treat all their patients the same, which is the only way to do it.

What is the atmosphere among the doctors at Lenox Hill?

It’s a very collegial attitude. I will tell you, with the utmost of certainty, that if there ever is an emergency on our labor floor, any doctor on the floor will help their colleague, which is beautiful to see. Because at the end of the day, we’re all in it to take care of patients, to bring life into the world and to have good outcomes. And if you have an emergency and your colleague asks you if you need an extra set of hands, there’s no better feeling.

Do you keep in touch with a lot of the families and children you deliver?

I keep in touch with them because I have patients who are coming to me if not for another baby, for GYN care, some of them for over 20 years. And you’ve seen their kids grow up and patients have matured over time.

When did you know you were delivering the baby of parents you had also delivered?

Her mom, who is also my patient, called me to say, “By the way, you delivered my son-in-law too.” And that made it a little more exciting. It’s always exciting, but a case like this is even more so.

How did the couple choose you as their doctor?

They chose me because, very often, patients will get a referral from their mom, sister or sister-in-law. Family members who use a doctor who they’re satisfied with, end up going to that doctor.

What can you tell us about them?

They’re a very exciting and happy 19-year-old couple who really have a love for life. And they were so happy when their baby was born. They were happy when they were in labor. They were happy on the visits leading up to labor. And they were happy when eventually, their baby was delivered.

What are the challenges to your job?

Being up a few nights in a row since I have no partners or associates. And then going to the office the next morning. But again, if you love what you do, it’s not onerous.

How have you seen the industry change with the introduction of new technology?

One of the main technological advances that I have seen is that we now, at 10 weeks and two days of pregnancy, can draw blood on an expectant mom and it will tell us with 99.2 percent certainty what the risk of Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13 is, and what the gender of their baby is. And that is pretty phenomenal, because on the Upper East Side, we see more and more 40-plus-year-old patients and that, of course, puts them at a higher risk for chromosomal abnormalities. We do that test, and then they can relax.

Tell us a memorable story from your career.

On Wednesday [Jan. 3], in my Brooklyn office, I saw for GYN care, a woman, her daughter and her granddaughter. And I delivered some babies for her daughter and I delivered her granddaughter’s baby.

What are your future plans?

My future plans, God willing, are to continue being an obstetrician because I absolutely love what I do. I am blessed to be able to make a living doing something I love. And to continue enjoying my wife, kids and my professional life. I have three children. I have a daughter who is married to a wonderful young man, and two sons.

So you never get tired?

Physically, the human body does get tired. When you’re up two nights in a row, you are a little tired. The hospital is one block to the left; the office is one block to the right. And sometimes you can steal away a one-hour nap and life is fresh and great.

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