About FIGS V.I.P.s (Very Important Professionals)
From launching international non-profit organizations to bringing new life into the world, medical professionals are making a difference in the lives of their patients across the globe. Every month, FIGS celebrates the people behind these feats and shares their stories with our community.
Name: Dr. Joanne Stone
Profession: Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine
Affiliation: Mount Sinai
Location: New York, NY
What made you decide to go into the medical profession?
I always wanted to go into medicine because I never wanted to see people die. When I was really little, I wanted to make a pill that could make people live forever. Obviously that wasn’t so plausible. When I was growing up, there was a lot going on with women’s rights. I remember in high school all the girls had to take home economics and all the boys took shop. My friends and I didn’t want to take home ec. We had a meeting with the principal and he finally let us take shop. My women’s rights involvement was a natural segueway for me to go into women’s health. When I was in medical school, I discovered I loved the OBGYN rotation. During my residency, I just knew obstetrics was it for me. I loved being on the labor floor where all the action is: the incredible beauty of birth, the joy of the parents, successful emergencies. I also love working with so many different people from the nurses to OR techs.
What do you love the most about your job?
My specialty, Maternal Fetal Medicine, deals with high risk pregnancies. I take care of a lot of patients who have had difficult past experiences: prior stillbirths, preterm deliveries where the baby didn’t survive, or multiple miscarriages. Getting them through a successful pregnancy is so rewarding. Even easing the fears of a patient going through tests and procedures is also very satisfying. My patients are always asking me what they can get me as a gift. I always answer that I don’t want a present. My present is for you to have a healthy baby in your arms at the end of the pregnancy. That is what it’s all about.
What’s your best advice for expecting parents?
Don’t drive yourself crazy. The majority of time, things work out well. Most things in moderation are ok. Some people feel like they can’t take a Tylenol. It’s really ok, it’s safe. Don’t torture yourself. Ask any questions you may have and be as informed as possible. Most people have a positive experience so don’t become overly stressed about things.
Tell me about the Global Health Program and some of the work you do overseas.
Our department of OBGYN has been involved for several years. Our GYN missions began in Niger but they branched out to other places when the country became unsafe. I met somebody that does a lot of work in Botswana working with HIV infected children and asked if there was a need for obstetrical services there and there was. We started making trips to Botswana about 2 years ago. At first, the people working in the hospitals and even in the political arena were really suspicious of our desire to come and help. They couldn’t understand why we were doing this. We had to explain to them that it wouldn’t cost them anything. It took a long time to make the arrangements and get everything set up.
Providing patient care is really rewarding but providing care to people who don’t have access to care or the resources we can give is the ultimate reward. On the very first day of our last trip in August, a patient came in with a condition called severe preeclampsia and she was coagulopathic, meaning her blood couldn’t clot. Her fetal heart rate was really low and the baby unfortunately didn’t survive. The mother was bleeding and bleeding, and when I met with her in recovery room, I realized we needed blood and we needed it quickly. We asked for blood and all the standard products. The hospital said they had no blood. We said, “You have to find something!” Finally, we managed to find 2 units of blood. We were literally squeezing bags of blood into this patient, and at one point her blood pressure was dangerously low at 40 over 20. We were determined to save her life. There was no ICU where we were so we had to get her stable enough to get flown to the capital where they have an ICU. We managed to stabilize her and she ended up getting flown out that night. Without our team, she would likely have died because the clinics there simply don’t have the same resources available that we do. They don’t have fetal monitors. They don’t have basic medications that we take for granted. It is so eye opening and we really felt like we could make a difference.
If you weren’t in the medical profession, what would you do?
I always had a dream to be an actress, but now I leave that to my daughter. That is her dream. Now I would love to do something with medical reporting and writing. I have co-authored a few books including Pregnancy for Dummies and The Pregnancy Bible. I would love to write a fiction book centered about the labor floor – and then have it turned into a TV series!! There’s a lot of drama on the labor floor, and also a lot of happiness.
What do you do to unwind outside of work?
I love cooking! I can be in my own zone. I love having people over. Last week we had 30 people over for Thanksgiving. I set up my 2-week plan prior – I have my list of all the ingredients to buy and I plan it all out. Monday I am doing this, Tuesday doing that, Wednesday dice this and so on. Oh and shopping is just not a hobby for me, it’s my addiction!
I just read that you are the First Lady of Fashion at Mount Sinai. How does your passion for fashion play into your role as the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine?
I really think that people respond to the way you look and the way you present yourself – really, your degree of confidence. If you walk in to the patient room and you don’t exude some degree of confidence, patients won’t have the confidence in you. Fashion enables me to present myself well and project confidence. I think that patients like to relate to their doctor. I don’t like to walk in there with a white coat because I think it’s scary. And my patients are young women that are into the same sort of things – we talk about our jeans and shoes and where we like to shop. It’s a way of bonding.
What are some of your favorite brands?
Stella McCartney, Rag and Bone, and J Brand Jeans
What is your favorite fruit?
Passion fruit (when it’s good).
What do you love most about FIGS?
FIGS are the most comfortable, soft, delicious scrubs that you can be in. I walk up to people and say “Feel this!” They just feel so good. I also love that they are personalized with my name and our hospital logo. I think it’s great that you have so mayn different styles that fit different people’s bodies because when you look at most scrubs they are just big boxy things that are disgusting. Besides the softness and the feel of it, they have style. They look good. You can actually walk around outside of work and look nice in your scrubs. Finally, I love that you donate to places that need it – I think that is so phenomenal. When we wore your scrubs in Botswana, it was a great identifier and helped patients visualize what our role was there. Immediately, we were identified as the United States doctors that were here to help. We were able to talk to people in a different way and have people respond to us. It is what they see, and that is really important.
For more information on Dr. Joanne Stone and Mount Sinai visit:
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