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Ob-Gyn Builds Relationships to Provide Lifelong Care for Pediatric and Adult Patients

Kat Hendrix, Ph.D.
August 21, 2021
Adrienne Wiggins-Metcalf, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob-Gyn) at MUSC Women’s Health

The chance to follow her patients over a long-term continuum of care is why Adrienne Wiggins-Metcalf, MD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob-Gyn) at MUSC Women's Health, chose this field of medicine. "I really enjoy building relationships with my patients. It's hard to keep that continuity during your residency because you’re moving around so much for training, so I've only been able experience this with a few patients. I'm really excited to be in a practice where I get to see patients come back over a longer time and establish those relationships with them," says Wiggins-Metcalf.

Before joining the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Wiggins-Metcalf completed medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During training, she considered a number of areas of medicine before choosing Ob-Gyn. "I'd always wanted to do something surgical, and I loved trauma surgery, but I hated that I didn't know what happened to patients after they left the hospital," Wiggins-Metcalf says. She found the best of both worlds in gynecology. "I really enjoy the continuity because we are able to follow our patients throughout their lives, and I also have the opportunity to perform surgery."

For Wiggins-Metcalf, however, the realization that obstetrics was a perfect fit was hard to accept. "I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, which wasn't a very big city, and my mom was an Ob-Gyn. It felt like women were always coming up to her to say 'hi' and thank her for delivering their children," she recalls. "It felt like we ran into them everywhere - in the grocery store, at the state fair. My brother and I would get so annoyed because she was holding us up from riding the rides or whatever we wanted to do. She definitely inspired me to pursue medicine, but I was pretty sure my career path would be completely different from hers."

For many years, her prediction appeared to be true. "I was going to be a downhill ski racer. I was in the national development system for the United States Ski Association, and I was on an Olympic track. But my last year of high school it suddenly stopped being fun and turned into a real job," says Wiggins-Metcalf. "At 17, I just wasn't ready for that transition where your whole life is about getting to nationals and then getting to the next level. I burned out. Plus, I had a couple of concussions - so it really wasn't safe for me to keep racing."

When she decided to go to medical school, her friends saw the writing on the wall that Wiggins-Metcalf couldn't read. "I tried really hard to like anything besides Ob-Gyn," she laughs. "But all of my friends - everybody - kept saying, 'You're going to be just like your mom!'" I was determined to find a different field but, as it turns out, they were right. This is really what I love doing."

From where she stands today, gynecology makes all the sense in the world because it combines the close personal connections of her home-town background with the intensity and focus of downhill ski racing. "I really get to know my patients, and I still get the adrenaline of surgery and emergencies. Unlike a lot of people, I really thrive off of the middle-of-the-night emergencies," says Wiggins-Metcalf.

She also has a special interest in younger patients and sees patients of all ages in her practice. "I find pediatric and adolescent gynecologic care to be really interesting. Parents may need to bring their children to clinic for very early onset of menstruation or breast development, or conversely, for late onset or absence of a period in a teenager. In these situations there may be endocrine factors or developmental abnormalities at play. I have always found this part of human development interesting. I like being able to identify the cause," says Wiggins-Metcalf. "I definitely enjoy seeing the full breadth of age groups in my practice."

A new medical practice isn't the only thing Wiggins-Metcalf enjoys building. Although she's happy practicing medicine now, she won't rule out spending her retirement renovating and flipping houses. "We bought a fixer-upper when we moved here, and we really enjoyed putting in the work to bring it back to life and make it our own. We painted all of the walls and scraped the ceiling, and redid the kitchen cabinets and the floors. I like working with my hands, and it';s really fun to go through Pinterest and find ideas and figure out how to implement them," she says.

Dr. Wiggins-Metcalf sees patients at the MUSC Women's Health Carnes Crossroads Clinic in Summerville. If you would like to make an appointment with Wiggins-Metcalf or refer a patient, please call 843-876-0444.