Motherhood transforms a woman – no matter what part of the world she lives in.
Erin Dainty, MD, knows this better than most. The obstetrician/gynecologist lived a significant part of her life in Kenya.
Today, she sees patients as part of Spartanburg Regional’s Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“We think about global health, and a lot of those things translate to rural health here,” Dr. Dainty said. “There’s still so much that a woman has to suffer and go through.”
First, she spent a decade in Kenya between the ages of 8 and 18, when she moved there with her medical missionary parents.
Then, as a physician, she returned to Kenya to conduct research on the impact of the HPV vaccine on the prevention of cervical cancer.
No matter where the patient lives, Dr. Dainty believes in connecting with her and letting her know she is valuable.
“People are just people,” Dr. Dainty said. “Making a human connection is so important, no matter where and how long you’ve known someone.”
A global connection
Dr. Dainty never considered being anything other than a doctor. She especially wanted to serve women.
“Women are an oppressed, struggling community globally, and I wanted to dedicate my life to making that better,” Dr. Dainty said.
Women are connected by that struggle, but there are many differences between women in Kenya and the United States.
A key problem in resource-deprived parts of the world such as Kenya, Dr. Dainty said, is the lack of access to ventilators for babies, to pediatric services, to Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
That lack of resources alters the “threshold of viability,” or the likelihood that a baby born prematurely could survive. In the U.S., that threshold is 24 weeks. In other places, “30 weeks, if you’re lucky.”
When Dr. Dainty travels overseas, she likes to ask the question: “What do they have that we don’t?”
In other countries, such as Kenya, people have a unique ability to focus on “now,” Dr. Dainty said.
“Their concept of time is so different,” Dr. Dainty said. “They aren’t thinking about their 401(k), their past or their future.”
In Kenya, women will come to see the doctor without an appointment, and they are content to wait all day to see one.
There are many differences, but it’s those universal similarities that inform Dr. Dainty’s ability to serve patients with empathy and care.
No matter where she is working, Dr. Dainty said there’s nothing quite like delivering a baby.
“When I’m the first person to hold someone’s baby, it takes me back to when I first held my own,” Dr. Dainty said.
She has two children – Asher, 5, and Zoe, 1 – and describes Mother’s Day as her favorite holiday.
“I’m pretty proud of being a mom,” Dr. Dainty said.
Center for Obstetrics & Gynecology is located at 853 North Church Street, Suite 700, in Spartanburg. To make an appointment, call 864-560-6164.