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JRMC now has OB-GYN

Bailey Runkles is the new doctor of obstetrics and gynecology at Jamestown Regional Medical Center Clinic. Tom LaVenture / The Sun

Bailey Runkles, who started work Monday as the new doctor of obstetrics and gynecology at Jamestown Regional Medical Center Clinic, said she hopes her presence will mean that fewer women will have to travel out of town for treatment.

As an obstetrician, Runkles specializes in pregnancy and childbirth, gynecology and female reproductive health, along with training in high-risk obstetrics and diverse gynecology. The OB-GYN department also includes Megan Bendewald, a registered nurse with OB-GYN experience who most recently worked in the JRMC urology department.

“There hasn't been a gynecologist here for seven years and so there was no equipment or protocols in place,” said Runkles, who spent a month selecting equipment including a new ultrasound machine. “Everything is in place now.”

Area physicians can now refer patients to Runkles who would otherwise need to go out of town for things like heavy menstrual bleeding or an abnormal Papanicolaou test (Pap smear). Women can also schedule an appointment with Runkles on their own for anything from birth control and fertility issues to an annual gynecologic exam, she said.

Runkles said she can manage the milder fertility cases and can conduct intrauterine insemination. If someone would need in vitro fertilization then she would refer out for those services, she said.

“I can explain the most cost effective means of getting a baby,” she said.

Some pregnancy cases will be referred to a maternal fetal medicine physician in Fargo, she said. But JRMC can work with normal and early deliveries at 36 weeks including C-section services and some high-risk pregnancies, she said.

Runkles said she will hold community health events to discuss women’s health milestones from the teens through menopause. Many women do not know what is considered normal as their bodies change, she said.

Women tend to be tough and just deal with things a lot more than they probably should, she said. Someone might ignore urinary incontinence at age 40, but they should not live with it untreated for another 40 or 50 years, she said.

Heavy and painful periods, a fallen uterus and fertility issues are also not normal and can be treated, she said.

“A lot of women don't realize that they shouldn't be bleeding as much as they are, or they shouldn't be having the pain they are having, or leaking urine all of the time,” she said.

Raised in a small Missouri town where everyone knew everyone, Runkles said she was looking for a small town with a large enough patient base to support an OB-GYN and Jamestown was a good match for her and husband Josh.

The JRMC facility is thoughtfully built, she said. There are many windows and the cafeteria is a beautiful area to eat and sit, she said.

“I've worked in really big hospitals where you can't see the sun even if you wanted to, and it really weighs on you, especially in the winter,” she said.