As retirement looms, veteran obstetrician glad he joined Westside medical community

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Dr. Anthony M. Taitano, who recently announced his retirement, delivered generations of babies during his career spanning more than three decades. Dr. Anthony Taitano delivered so many babies in Washington County for so long that many of his patients were grown women he brought into the world.

And guess who delivered their babies?

By choosing to practice in the same corner of Oregon for 33 years — first in Aloha, then in the shadow of Providence St. Vincent Medical Center on Southwest Barnes Road — Tatiano, an obstetrics/gynecology specialist, has accompanied his multi-generational patients through thick and thin.

For Taitano, it’s all about the connections.

“Being in the same locale at the same hospital, I’ve had the privilege of observing patients (since) 1981,” he says. “I’ve seen them get married, seek birth control and family planning, delivered their babies and grown old with them through menopause.”

His accomplishments include delivering 6,600 babies, including a set of quintuplets, and saving a man’s life through emergency CPR at the West Hills Racquet Club in 1992.

“I like to take care of patients and develop relationships with them,” the Northwest Portland resident adds. “Being in one location has helped me do that. Other doctors have changed locations for various reasons. I’ve had the privilege of staying at the same hospital.”

At 63 years of age, Taitano, co-founder of Women’s Healthcare Associates at the Peterkort Centre on Southwest Barnes Road, is phasing out his practice. He plans to enjoy the fruits of his labors with Ruby, his wife of 41 years, and see what life is like without being on call or attached to a pager.

“I plan on exploring art museums and attending musical productions,” he says. “I want to travel within the mainland United States, and I may do part-time volunteer teaching.”

It will be quite a transition for a man for whom, at the height of his practice, 12-hour shifts and 80-hour weeks were the norm. Being on call around the clock was simply a way of life. Dropping his obstetrics practice three years ago was a step toward normalcy, but wrapping up his gynecology practice obligations this summer should provide a measure of freedom Taitano hasn’t known in his adult life.

Caring instinct

Reflecting on the career that led him from his native California to Honolulu, where he studied medicine at the University of Hawaii, and then Oregon, Taitano has no regrets about his career and life paths, which started by ignoring his father’s advice.

“My parents were not college educated,” he says, noting his dad was a chief steward in the U.S. Navy. “They wanted me to maximize my education, but for anything I wanted to do. My father worked with serviced officers, most of them were engineers and administrators.

“He said, ‘Think about engineering.’ I said I don’t want to go into that. I knew I wanted to take care of people. I wanted to be a doctor,” he adds. “I chose that path.”

After completing medical school, he was matched to an OB-GYN residency program at Oregon Health and Sciences University Medical Center, which led to a practice in the then-sleepy community of Aloha.

“My wife and I were very adventuresome,” Taitano says. “(Oregon) was a small state compared to where we’d been from. I thought I’d train here and see how things go. We could’ve gone back (to California). But when I finished my residency, we said, ‘Let’s stay in Oregon.’”

Adventures in obstetrics

While still an OHSU resident, Taitano delivered a quintuplet pregnancy to a patient for whom he was providing prenatal care.

“It was a challenge of organization, timing and medical care,” he recalls. “We had five teams of everything standing by 24 hours, on call.”

Fertility care was still evolving and not so finely tuned at that point in medical history.

“Today (quintuple pregnancy) is considered an error,” he notes.

While enjoying a day at the West Hills Racquet Club in 1992, Taitano heard a call for a doctor, any doctor. A man had gone into cardiac arrest.

“I was just there, and my training kicked in,” he says of the emergency CPR he performed to revive the gentleman. “(Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue) gave me an award. Your training as a doctor is always with you. Even on vacation, you don’t have to think twice about what to do.”

No better partner

Following medical and health care industry trends away from private practices as well as patients’ increased interests in specialty care, he formed Women’s Healthcare Associates LLC in 1998.

The practice, which grew from 18 providers to 130, serves patients at Providence St. Vincent and Legacy Meridian Park medical centers.

“I have experienced all the changes in medical care delivery over 33 years,” he says. “Gone are the days of the private practice doctor. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve chosen to be in one state. I had my private practice, and those (early) patients still come to see me.”

Dr. Dan Schrinsky, chief medical officer of Women’s Healthcare Associates, says Taitano’s departure will not be taken lightly.

“You would have to look long and far to find a better partner than Tony,” he says. “If Tony says he will do something, it is as good as done — and done well. His integrity is unmatched, and his love of teaching and mentorship has been a strong influence among fellow clinicians and staff.”

While acknowledging the transition from an in-demand, on-call gynecologist to a man of leisure will involve a process, the father of two adult sons is open minded about what retirement holds for him.

“The next chapter to be determined,” he says. “I look at the future with optimism. There are lots of opportunities.”

But how good is the good doctor at relaxing?

“We will find out,” he says. “I’m trying to adapt.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Dr. Anthony M. Taitano worked in Aloha from 1981 to 1987 and formed Women's Healthcare Associates in 1998.

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