Men Giving Birth? Posh Women Without Pumps? Society Gals Ponder the Medically Impossible at Hospital Benefit

The eco-socialite and Today show contributor Sloan Barnett moved to San Francisco a few years ago. But she still returns to Manhattan several times a year to support the many charities she used to work on when she was still a presence in New York society, like the annual fashion show and luncheon to benefit the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which took place on Thursday, May 14, at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Ms. Barnett, who gave birth to her two children at the hospital and has been involved with the benefit for seven years, is in town for two days, she said. The previous night, she had to attend a benefit at the Spence School for girls on the Upper East Side, which she also still supports.

“Year in and year out I am still involved because I truly think New York hospital is the best hospital in the world,” said Ms. Barnett. “I feel very close to New York and its causes and its hospitals.” (To be fair, Ms Barnett said that she also now sits on the board of her local San Francisco hospital, the California Pacific Medical Center.)

As Ms. Barnett was speaking, Dr. Frank Cherveneck, the gentle-faced doctor who looks more like a pizza dough maker than a OB/GYN to Manhattan’s prominent housewives, had raced behind her to greet Judith Giuliani, who had just walked in wearing a belted, pink suit.

“And I do it all for that man right there,” continued Ms. Barnett, looking at the doctor. “He’s like the most delicious man in the world!”

With so many medical advances in women’s health, we wondered if there was still anything missing for Ms. Barnett.

“How to be fabulous without suffering through the five-inch platforms?” she joked. “You know, we don’t wear those in San Francisco and I wore them all day yesterday and I couldn’t walk by the end of the day!”

The fashion sponsor for the day was the Swiss label Akris, which had donated looks for the runway show that took place as the ladies sat down to pick at the gazpacho and breaded chicken–“How did they have the nerve to serve us breaded chicken,” uttered one health-conscious guest seated at the Daily Transom’s table–and outfitted board members like Ms. Barnett, Heather Mnuchin and Lizzie Tisch in its designs. (All three were wearing prim white cocktail dresses.)

“I had my daughter here who will be six next week. I had a c-section and it was sort of unexpected and I had to stay in the hospital for five days,” said Ms. Tisch, “But it was the most wonderful experience because of the doctors and the nurses. After that it was like, ‘Anything you need!'”

What sorts of medical miracles is Ms. Tisch awaiting in the women’s health department?

“How to have men have babies!” she replied. “I remember Nita Lowey, the congresswoman, at a breast cancer lunch years ago saying that it’s come so far that when they used to do the research on all the rats in the laboratories, even all the rats were male!”

Just as the fashion show was about to begin, the president of the hospital, Dr. Herbert Pardes, who said he was “not a sophisticated observer” for the fashion happenings of the day, was standing back taking in all the ladies in expensive dresses and four-inch heels–some with protruding pregnant bellies–discussing their c-sections and now, healthy children.

“Obstetrics and gynecology has always had a strong relationship with many of the prominent women in New York. The obstetrics unit at the hospital does extremely well,” he said with a smirk.

Men Giving Birth? Posh Women Without Pumps? Society Gals Ponder the Medically Impossible at Hospital Benefit