By Edmond Ortiz
It’s a rainy day, but in his office, Dr. Jose Ruiz is cool, calm and collected, going in between appointments.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native is an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Institute For Women’s Health in the South Texas Medical Center. He’s been practicing medicine for more than 30 years, with a 20-plus-year focus on women’s health.
“My best friend’s dad was an OB/GYN. He was kind of my mentor,” Ruiz says. “Ever since I was a kid, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Ruiz graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in science. He earned his medical degree from LSU’s School of Medicine in New Orleans.
He completed his residency at St. Luke’s Women’s Hospital, part of Columbia University, in New York City.
“Ruiz said helping a mother with the birth of a child, bringing him/her safely into the world, is an awe-inspiring moment. And he’s delivered nearly 7,000 babies.” – Dr. Jose Ruiz
Ruiz said helping a mother with the birth of a child, bringing him/her safely into the world, is an awe-inspiring moment. And he’s delivered nearly 7,000 babies.
“Any medical student knows, really, when they deliver babies — it’s an incredible feeling,” he says.
“For me, knowing as a kid that’s what I’ve wanted to do, being able to do that, it was a thrill. Even to this day, I love doing it. There’s nothing better in medicine.”
Ruiz’s resume grew and earned accolades. He found his way to San Antonio. He has developed affiliations with several hospitals, including Methodist Hospital.
Becoming a partner at the Institute for Women’s Health was his biggest professional move. Several local practices merged to become the IWH about 23 years ago.
Ruiz has been with IWH for 20 years. The institute is San Antonio’s largest OB/GYN clinic, involving more than 30 physicians with over eight locations who offer services in all areas of women’s health, including management of menopause and fertility treatment.
“What sets us apart here is that personal touch — that you matter, that we give you the time and that we’re here for you,” he says of IWH.
“I also think we provide great pre-natal care. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” Ruiz adds.
Over the years, Ruiz has seen many changes in OB/GYN regarding treatment. The use of robotics for minimally invasive surgery is perhaps the biggest evolution.
“With the robotic instruments we’re seeing, that’s probably one of the biggest advances in surgery,” he says.
“Before, we used to cut open people with large, open incisions. Now, we’re able to do these complex surgeries through very small incisions. Patients recover faster. They’re in less pain.”
Ruiz says he and other OB/GYNs give their all because they understand how crucial and special the day is – the birth of someone’s child.
“One of the most important days in someone’s life is the birth of their child,” explains Ruiz, a husband and father to three children.
“It’s like your wedding and the birth of your child. That’s as high as it gets. Anything we can do to make that day special, which you’ll always remember, that’s as good as it gets.”
He continues: “It’s about making that a safe, happy day for the whole family, because it affects the whole family. That keeps me going and saying, ‘I love what I do.’”
Whereupon prescribing preventative care, Ruiz says he strives to keep things simple.
“Just good clean living…you eat healthy, exercise, take the best care of yourself because you’re not only doing it for yourself but you’re doing it for your unborn child,” Ruiz says.
IFWH has ways of providing care to those patients with specific acute or chronic conditions that could affect a pregnancy.
“But in most cases, the baby is born healthy, the mother is healthy, so we tell them to do their normal things because you have to remember – pregnancy is not an illness,” he notes.
“Listen to your mind, take good care of yourself. Just a lot of good common sense goes into this.”
Ruiz says he and his colleagues are seeing a lot more instances of expectant mothers who cope with diabetes and other afflictions of which there are high rates in San Antonio and South Texas.
“For me, knowing as a kid that’s what I’ve wanted to do, being able to do that, it was a thrill. Even to this day, I love doing it. There’s nothing better in medicine.”- Dr. Jose Ruiz
“Our diets play a big role, so we try to educate mothers and mothers-to-be on good eating habits and how to prevent these diseases,” he adds.
“We’re professionals trained to treat pregnancy with hypertension, manage these conditions — things that put patients in high risk.”
Ruiz and his colleagues are also seeing more women in their late 30s and 40s having children.
“They have special concerns that we have to pay attention to, but we have much better techniques to identify problems — ultrasound, blood tests — much better than we did several years ago,” he says.
“We’re here to help parents prepare the best we can.”
According to Ruiz, another thing that has improved in recent years is how hospitals want to be seen as a more warm, welcoming environment for expectant mothers.
He acknowledges that, for decades, a mother about to give birth would typically enter a hospital and face relatively sterile, drab surroundings.
Mainly working with Methodist Hospital, Ruiz says that institution and others have sought to enhance aesthetics and services for a mother about to give birth.
“They’re involved in making it a family setting. That brings a lot of comfort to the moms, especially first-time moms,” he adds.
Ruiz points to the site across the street, where Methodist Hospital is in the final months of its three-month expansion project. The new building will have large-scale upgrades in an array of areas, including obstetrics and pediatric services.
“It’s going to be a comforting place. One of the things that makes it unique is that it’ll have systems where we can communicate with each other,” Ruiz says of different medical departments.
“It’ll be a place where we can refer to each other.”
For more information on Dr. Jose Ruiz and the Institute for Women’s Health in The South Texas Medical Center visit ifwh.org. Please note the location in the photograph is not currently open for patients.