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“Top Doctor” and Founder of Northwest Perinatal Center Retires

Dec 14, 2013

Northwest Perinatal Center, the high-risk obstetrics and genetics practice of Women’s Healthcare Associates, announced the retirement of Peter Watson, MD.

As Oregon's first community-based maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Watson established the Emanuel Perinatal Center in 1979 and created the Northwest Perinatal Center at St. Vincent's Hospital in 1992. In 1998, he became one of the founding partners of Women’s Healthcare Associates. Although Dr. Watson was involved with educational pursuits as a former clinical faculty member of the OB-GYN department at OHSU and a founding member of the Western Perinatal Research Collaborative group, his primary focus was always the clinical care of his patients. In that regard, he was named several times to the annual “Top Doctor” list published by Portland Monthly Magazine. “Peter has been the bedrock of perinatal medicine in Portland,” says Women’s Healthcare Associates Chief Medical Officer Dan Schrinsky, MD. “He has earned the support and respect of nearly every obstetrician and midwife in Oregon through his decency, effort and the quality of his work. Patients appreciate that he respects them and is invested in helping them with some of the most difficult problems they could ever imagine.”

“I always knew I wanted to be a physician,” Dr. Watson says. “I made house calls with my grandfather as a child. I carried his doctor’s bag and sat in on conversations with patients. I wanted to do what he did, and I have used those experiences with him for a lifetime of positive motivation. When I entered medical school, I thought for certain I’d go into orthopedics and sports medicine. However, after I delivered my first baby in 1968, I decided that OB-GYN, and ultimately Maternal-Fetal Medicine, was a far better fit. For me the sustaining attraction of the field of Maternal-Fetal Medicine has always been the clinical variety and the social impact; that the field is part medicine, part psychiatry, part surgery, with a large measure of opportunity to affect families and communities in very positive ways. I’ve never regretted for a moment my career choice.” 

Dr. Watson says the most memorable moment of his Maternal-Fetal Medicine career was when delivered his younger son, David, who “came too fast while the attending physician was at lunch! I asked the nurse to overhead page for any doctor. She looked at me and said, ‘No one else is around and you’re a doctor, aren’t you?’ and I said, ‘I am! I can do this.’ So I switched roles from father to doctor, delivered David, terrified and thrilled, all at the same time.”

Dr. Watson graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and obtained his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado, and went on to a fellowship in perinatology (high-risk obstetrics) at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. 

Dr. Watson says he plans to stay involved in the medical community as a consultant in the areas of communication and conflict resolution. He encourages those in the medical field, or those thinking of entering the field, to recognize that medicine is now a team sport with evidence-based, best practice patient care as the goal; and that the more the care-givers learn about the individual patient experience, the likelier they will be to reach that goal.