Top Doctor Attributes Success to Patient Focus
by John Fries
Each year, Chicago Magazine publishes an issue featuring the area’s
Top Doctors in a variety of specialties. Because the list is determined
based on input from doctors across the area, the chosen few named
are considered “physician’s physicians.”
Achieving Top Doctor status is highly impressive, and a testament
to each physician’s professional expertise and reputation.
Obstetrician and gynecologist Randall M Toig, M.D. has been named
a Chicago Top Doctor for the past four years, most recently in the
January 2004 issue, which listed only 350 physicians in 58 specialties.
“It’s an honor for me, and also for my patients,” said Dr. Toig, Gold
Coast Gynecology on North Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago, who
has been in private practice for 22 years.
During that time, Toig has performed several thousand surgical procedures.
He’s also earned an outstanding reputation for the high quality of
care he provides. In addition to the Chicago list, he’s been included
in the Castle Connolly Guide to America’s Top Doctors, Chicago Metro
Area 2002 and the 2002-2003 edition of the Guide to America’s Top
Obstetricians and Surgeons.
Last year, he was promoted to assistant professor of clinical obstetrics
and gynecology at the Northwestern University Medical School, on whose
faculty he has served since 1982.
He attributes his success to maintaining a gynecology practice that
is totally patient-focused. His philosophy, which appears on the home
page of his website, says he is “committed to developing a healthy
partnership with each patient, providing the highest quality care,
fully presenting and discussing options, and facilitating my patients
informed choices. This is what my patients deserve.”
Toig does everything he can to minimize unnecessary anxiety and costs
for his patients, and often, the need for hospitalization. “I perform
a number of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures right in my office,
which has state-of-the-art medical equipment and procedure rooms,”
he said. “For my patients, it’s a very comfortable environment.”
Toig was born in Highland Park, a quiet, leafy neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s
East End where the local landmark is the Pittsburgh Zoo. After attending
nearby Shadyside Academy and Peabody High School, he received a full
tennis scholarship from the University of Michigan and moved to Ann
Arbor. While there, he played tennis on the university’s NCAA Big
Ten championship team.
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in zoology and anthropology from
the University of Michigan, he returned home and attended the University
of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He earned his M.D. at Pitt, then
moved to Chicago to serve his internship at Rush-Presbyterian-St.
Luke’s Hospital and his residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Toig was selected chief resident by the chairman, full time faculty,
private attending staff, and his peers.
While at Northwestern, his strong sense of responsibility to his patients
laid the foundation for what later became his practice model. “I wanted
to be available to them. I also wanted to cater to the needs of working
women,” he said.
He was the first gynecologist at the hospital to offer evening and
Saturday hours. After completing his residency, the young physician
continued taking the road less traveled by immediately opening a solo
medical practice, rather than joining a group practice that would
provide him with an opportunity to establish himself.
“It was 1982, and I borrowed $250,000 from the bank at 24% interest,”
he said, “but I wanted to do it my way, with the needs and convenience
of the patients as my top priority.” No one else had evening and weekend
hours, so I was very busy. I was getting a lot of self-referrals,
so I knew I was doing the right thing.
Twenty-two years later, Toig continues to maintain a busy, yet highly
satisfying solo practice. In addition to holding active medical staff
status at Northwestern, he’s a member of the medical staff at Prentice
On the personal side, he’s a confirmed Chicagoan who lives with his
wife and children in a house on the Gold Coast that’s been designated
as a historic landmark.
“It was built by a German beer baron for his daughter in 1894. It
is one of the only original houses in the area that was never converted
to apartments, and than reconverted to a single family home.” He fell
in love with the house and bought it in 1987. He and his wife were
married in the house, and he regularly indulges in one of his favorite
forms of relaxation--raising roses and orchids in his rooftop greenhouse.
Toig is an active member of the Historic Landmark Society, helping
to generate funds so that property with historical value can be preserved,
rather than torn down. He’s also an avid reader with a wide range
of interests, from suspense books and economic biographies to books
about architecture. He’s loved the Chicago Symphony since 1977.