KODIAK — Mike Fitzgerald, M.D., OB-GYN, joined the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center on June 14, becoming the first full-time obstetrician and gynecologist on Kodiak Island since September 2017.
“We are so pleased that Dr. Fitzgerald has joined our team at the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center. Having an OB-GYN with his extensive experience will be of value to many women on our island,” Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center CEO Gina Bishop said.
Fitzgerald began seeing patients on July 1, performing one emergency cesarean section just nine days after he arrived. He has only one obstetrics patient, and says he is hoping to provide more gynecological care.
Fitzgerald has been averaging only one or two patients a day as he eases into work and builds the clinic.
“We’re kind of having to build the clinic up from the base,” he said. This includes training nurses and ordering new equipment. But Fitzgerald added that “it’s coming along fast.”
Fitzgerald will be based out of the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center Specialty Clinic and will provide OB/GYN services including annual exams, routine and high-risk pregnancy care, family planning and a variety of obstetrical and gynecological surgeries.
Though Fitzgerald can provide expert advice on high-risk pregnancy care, family practice physicians have taken the lead on delivering babies in Kodiak.
“I plan to be part of that, and, obviously, I offer a little more experience and certainly can offer more surgical skills,” he said. “But I’m certainly not here to take over all of the OB cases. I can’t. There are too many of them.”
In the nearly two years that have passed since Kodiak last had a full-time OB/GYN physician, women’s medical care has been limited on the island.
The options for women were “put up with it or go to Anchorage,” Fitzgerald said. Women who required procedures such as hysterectomies or hysteroscopies had to travel off island to access care. Fitzgerald will be able both to provide these procedures, among others.
“I’m expecting a little bit of a backlog of things that people have been putting up for a while,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald began his medical career after graduating from the University of Texas Health Science Center in 1983. He spent the next 12 years in military service, providing care to United States Air Force service members and their families. Some of this time included serving as chief OB/GYN at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.
He first moved to Alaska in 2001, serving the communities of Fairbanks, Wasilla and most recently Palmer, where he lived for 17 years before relocating to Kodiak last month.
“It was a big move after all that time,” he said. “It’s the longest, continuously, I’ve lived anywhere.” Fitzgerald grew up in a military family and was used to moving every couple of years.
Fitzgerald said he was attracted to Kodiak by its small community and the military presence.
“I like little places,” he explained. “Kodiak has a lot for a population this size. It’s got a lot more than you’d expect.”
Fitzgerald has a two-year contract but hopes to stay here for at least five year.
“I’m hoping it’s a long-term thing,” he said.
Dr. Fitzgerald is accepting new patients. Patients can make appointments by
calling the PKIMC Specialty Clinic at 486-9580.