Editor of Williams Obstetrics
18th through 26th Editions
In the early 1970s, as I was finishing my residency at Charity Hospital of New Orleans, the 14th edition of Williams Obstetrics was published. The residents in our program were totally enamored with the textbook because it was a clinical manual derived from the editors' personal experiences and from contemporary, evidence-based literature.
During my last year, my chairman, Dr. Abe Mickal, invited me to attend a national meeting where I first met four obstetricians who would have an immeasurable impact on my life—Drs. Jack Pritchard, Paul MacDonald, Norman Gant, and Peggy Whalley. Following that, I was invited to Dallas to spend time at the University of Texas Southwestern and Parkland Hospital. As I followed Dr. Pritchard through Labor & Delivery and his clinical research laboratory, I became hooked on “Parkland Obstetrics” and later that year began a fellowship that was the nascent subspecialty of Maternal–Fetal Medicine. It also began a lifelong friendship with Jack Pritchard that I will always treasure.
Beginning with the 15th edition of Williams Obstetrics, the author-editors were Drs. Pritchard, MacDonald, and Gant. After publication of the 17th edition, these mentors asked me to assume the senior editor role. I was immediately struck by the awesome responsibility of shepherding the book that many people called “the bible of obstetrics.”
Over the years, and now as we publish this 26th edition, I reflect on the evolution of obstetrics, and hence the complexity of sustaining a textbook designed to cover the breadth of obstetrics. As essential fields such as sonography, genetics, and fetal medicine were developed, we enlisted the help of extremely talented leaders in their respective fields to ensure that the book adequately presented these innovations. As for my role in this and other editions, I can only promise the readers that the quality of the book has been foremost in my mind and led me to spend literally tens of thousands of hours to help prepare the past nine editions. To this end, the editors have always strived to put the best product forward because of the tremendous responsibility that we shoulder regarding the care of women and their unborn children. The textbook has been one of the great passions in my life, and I will miss the challenge.