By Bev Jordan
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR NORMAN BLUMENTHAL has helped more than 13,000 babies arrive into this world.
This month he will be delivering his final baby at Norwest Private Hospital. It will be a huge milestone for the dedicated obstetrician who has been delivering babies for nearly 40 years. Joanna Mikhail and her husband Mathew are delighted that Professor Blumenthal’s last delivery will be their daughter as he delivered their older two children, Joshua (5) and Nora (2) and they couldn’t be happier.
“He’s such an awesome guy,” said Joanna. “He’s been such a blessing to our family.” Prof Blumenthal trained in South Africa and became a Fellow of the South African College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in England in 1981. He became a Fellow of the Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in1983 and obtained his Masters in Medicine (MSc) at Notre Dame University in 2017.
He immigrated to Sydney in 1982 and delivered his first baby in Australia at the old Baulkham Hills Private Hospital on Windsor Road, which later moved to Bella Vista to become Norwest Private.
He’s the oldest practising obstetrician in the area because, as he says, he loves the joy of birth and communicating with his patients.
“I really love it so much,” he told the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News. “Most of my colleagues stopped obstetrics many years ago. I am the oldest practising obstetrician in the area because I delight in confinements and really enjoy being with the parents. Childbirth is a once in a lifetime experience with everlasting memories and consequences for them.”
The father of two and grandfather of four, says he’s always enjoyed the work despite the fact that it has meant working at the weekends, late at night, early mornings and despite the disruptions to his family life.
“My wife (Caron) has been fabulous and been very very supportive,” he said. And while 85 percent of births are problem-free there are always about 15 per cent that throw up challenges and have some form of complication.
“It’s joyful when parents that have had difficulties conceiving ultimately have a child,” he said.
He has had so many memorable occasions and so many parents who return, including one mum who had all her nine children delivered by him. “Everyone is hoping that their baby will be perfect … it can be heartbreaking at times,” he said. “I have learnt that experience and composure is especially important and to always keep your cool.”
He has also worked hard to involve fathers in the whole birthing process by allowing them to help deliver their own baby. “We take photos so that they always have a memorable record of the birthing experience,” he said.
While he won’t be delivering babies in 2022, A/Prof Blumenthal will be continuing his work as a gynaecologist and also teaching obstetrics and gynaecology trainees as well as medical students at the university.
He is an experienced laparoscopic surgeon, is a foundation member of the Australian Gynaecological Endoscopy Society, the Australian Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and the Australian Menopause Society.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Dr Norman Blenthumal,” said Suzanne Hall, General Manager Norwest Private Hospital.
“Dr Blumenthal has made significant contributions to Norwest as the former Chairperson of Obstetrics & Gynaecology for 10 years and as a Visiting Medical Officer, providing us with his teaching, wisdom, guidance and commitment to best practice.”