Christian M. Pettker, MD, is chief of obstetrics for Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital, and medical director of both the labor and birth unit and the maternal special care unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. A specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, he treats women who are facing high-risk pregnancies, which he describes as an especially challenging field,because the doctor;must consider the needs of two patients at one time.
“Something I do for a fetus may put the mother at risk, or something I do for the mother may put the fetus at risk,” Dr. Pettker says. “It’s intellectually challenging to balance the two, and it's emotionally satisfying to help the family through a difficult time.”
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Pettker helped develop and oversees Yale’s comprehensive obstetric patient safety program, which aims to improve patient care by standardizing treatment methods, and encouraging communication and collaboration among doctors from various disciplines.“A safety and teamwork culture is not something you can just implement, then walk away from and expect to continue,” says Dr. Pettker.“The really hard thing is the daily work you need to do to keep it going.”Dr. Pettker is an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive services at Yale School of Medicine.