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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
SW: Feature Report Channel
Reported September 4, 2013

Dr. Lynch: Delivering Babies at the Hospital and the Zoo


TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Hundreds and hundreds of children can thank her for bringing them in to the world, but one OB-GYN doesn’t just deliver humans.

So what do a baby gorilla, a newborn baby boy, and his three sisters have in common?  They were all brought into the world by Catherine Lynch.

“It’s really a unique specialty in that you almost become part of someone’s family,” Catherine Lynch, M.D., Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of South Florida, told Ivanhoe.

“I think it’s just a testament that we’ve had four kids and she’s done all four,” Michael Miranda, father of that newborn baby boy, told Ivanhoe.  “So we’re obviously very happy with how everything went.”

But it hasn’t been so easy to reproduce at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla.  There were concerns that the gorillas at the park were becoming endangered.  So over
the years Dr. Lynch has checked out the females for fertility issues. A gorilla baby, named Bolingo, arrived via cesarean section performed by Dr. Lynch.

“I’m the primate obstetrician [at the park].  And we’re all primates; they just happen to be non-human primates,” Dr. Lynch said.

Dr. Lynch believes there are a surprising amount of similarities between the two species.

“Once you shave the belly and put the drapes on, it looks an awful lot like [delivering a human],” Dr. Lynch explained.  “Until you pull the baby out and go ’wow that’s a funny looking kid.’  Oh, that’s right, it’s a gorilla.”

Dr. Lynch began her career in Tampa 23 years ago.  She’s delivered 10,000 babies, including three gorillas. She said her motivation is there are not many professions where you can create a family every day you go to work.

“You’ve got to go into something you are passionate about,” Dr. Lynch said.

And her passion is helping all parts of the primate population.          

Dr. Lynch is also usually on-call to deliver the New Year babies.  She said Busch Gardens in Tampa has an active gorilla breeding program to make sure they maintain a healthy population.  On another note, some people call her the First Lady of Tampa because her husband is the mayor. MORE


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