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Half A Century Of Health Care

June 23, 2010, 6:09 PM by Kelli Grant

Half A Century Of Health Care
SIOUX FALLS, SD - If you weren't delivered by Dr. Thomas Looby, you likely know someone who was.

That's because he's been in the delivery room for nearly half a century. But that's about to change.

A lot has changed in medicine since Looby delivered his first baby back in the late 1960s. But one thing has stayed the same: his dedication to patients. It's something one patient is very familiar with.

Mariah Hockett could be considered a veteran mom. She's pregnant with her sixth baby and has a set of twins.  And her doctor is about as experienced as they come.

“It seems like he really cares about his patients,” Hockett said. 

Looby has delivered babies for 43 years, more than 4,000 to be exact.

“Certainly doing the delivery is a big part of, you know, connecting with the patient and being there,” Looby said.

In the past four decades, he's seen how technology has completely changed obstetrics.

“I have had the chance to watch fetal monitoring start. When I was first involved in obstetrics, we could barely tell that the baby had a heart beat,” Looby said.

He was in the delivery room when fathers weren't allowed and watched the world of ultrasound grow.

But in a week, that part of his life will end. Looby will deliver his final baby June 30.

“He said that he would like me to be his last delivery so I was pretty excited about that,” Hockett said.

Looby will have delivered four out of Hockett's six children. Something she wouldn't have any other way, especially since Looby helped bring her twin boys into the world; a pregnancy with several complications.

“It's pretty amazing. It's actually awesome that he's been doing this for so long and still loves his job,” Hockett said.

While he'll no longer be delivering, Looby isn't retiring. He'll continue his OBGYN practice at a different Sanford Clinic just without the late night calls and longer work days.

“There are a lot of ways, I think, of making a change in your life and this seems like the right time to make a change in my life and it certainly feels like a reasonable way to do it,” Looby said.

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