Meet the Doctor: Jacob Wright-Piekarski, MD
Jacob Wright-Piekarski, MD, is a women’s health specialist who received his medical degree from the St. Louis University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood and is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association. Dr. Wright-Pierkarski sees patients at Genuardi Family Foundation Maternity Health Center in Norristown and Women’s Associates for Health Care in East Norriton.
We recently spoke with Dr. Wright-Piekarski about his career, his interests and OBGYN at Einstein.
Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor?
A: I didn’t always want to be a doctor. For years my mother sort of pressured me to become a doctor, but I resisted, so I entered college as a physics major and planned to become an engineer. But I discovered it was not right for me. I didn’t necessarily want to appease my mother with medical school and becoming a doctor, but in the end, she was right, and it was the right decision for me.
Q: Why did you choose your specialty?
A: When I went to medical school, I wanted to do general surgery, but through my training I realized that as an OBGYN you get to do surgery and other hands-on procedures, but that also, in the end, there is no other specialty where you are meant to smile alongside your patients. It’s just the most fun thing in the world. Of course, there are difficulties, and when things go wrong it can be very, very sad, but most of the time people are happy and the mom and baby are healthy.
Q: How did you come to Einstein?
A: I had a mentor who taught me in residency named Dr. Kate Stampler. By the time I graduated, she was working at Einstein. After visiting the campus and speaking with her, it seemed like it was a really good fit.
Q: Is there such thing as a typical day?
A: Every single day is completely different. A day in the office is usually time for prenatal visits or annual visits. Occasionally you get an unexpected miscarriage or a patient walks in with an abdominal mass that needs surgery. It depends on how many patients are in labor and what problems they might have. You might be on a shift and nothing is happening, but by midnight, you have six or seven women in labor. We like to poke fun at superstitions about rainy weather and say everyone’s water broke at the same time. So the weather changes and suddenly you’re full and busy.
Q: You love this specialty because it’s mostly happy and you get to share smiles with patients, but there can be tough times as well. Can you tell us anything about that?
A: One of the most difficult things is when a woman who has had a normal pregnancy comes in for an ultrasound and all of a sudden there is no longer a heartbeat or the pregnancy has failed. It’s devastating and there is no way to predict it. In these cases, we comfort the patient and their partner as much as we can, and we try to help them get through this really difficult period. On the positive side, the next pregnancy is usually completely normal.
Q: What is something people might not know about you?
A: My wife and I really like to scuba dive. When she lived in China and Thailand, she got all her certifications, including search and rescue. She introduced me to it. We try to travel once or twice a year, and include scuba diving in our trips. I also play darts. My dad had a dartboard when I was growing up. My own dartboard is almost falling apart now. It’s nice to be with friends, relax and have something to do while we’re talking and catching up.
Q: Who was your greatest influence?
A: My mother. Nobody in our family was ever in medicine. My dad worked for a bank and my mom stayed home. She pushed me and my brother and sisters. My twin brother works for a medical insurance company, one sister is a dentist, and my other sister is a nurse.
Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
A: We just visited Cape Town, South Africa, and I was thrilled with how much there is to do. We went hiking and spent time in the wine country. It’s just gorgeous. We saw penguins, seals and wild ostriches. A nurse I work with in labor and delivery is South African, so she told us all about what to do and see.
Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: I follow the St. Louis Blues hockey team, and I’m thrilled that they just won the Stanley Cup for the first time ever!
Learn more about Einstein obstetrics and gynecology.