Meet Mary, an ER physician and mom of two who started her own medical practice to meet the demand of busy, stressed families who needed medical consults right away. With virtual consults to patients throughout Southern California and in-home consults for patients who live in the South Bay, she has found a way to ease the anxiety for families 7 days a week.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Fairfax County in northern Virginia but was in the Midwest for college and then New York City for medical school and residency. I moved to California about 10 years ago.
Where do you live? How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I live in Manhattan Beach with my husband and two boys. My older son is 15 and is going to be a sophomore in high school. My younger son is 11 and going into seventh grade.
I have fond memories of visiting my college roommate in the South Bay and if you plan around traffic, it’s not a far drive from Orange County. Any suggestions for what you consider a must-see/do for families looking for a day trip to LA County.
Since we live so close to the beach, we are partial to going to Manhattan Beach and doing some shopping or grabbing lunch in town. Some other favorite highlights in and around LA would be catching a Dodgers game, shopping at the Grove, surfing up in Malibu, and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.
Do you have a favorite destination for family trips? Why?
My favorite family destination on the West Coast is Lake Tahoe. There is nothing more relaxing than being out on that lake in a boat with my family and just completely getting away from city life. My favorite destination on the East Coast for a family trip is Charleston, South Carolina. It has beautiful beaches and the city is filled with great shopping, delicious restaurants, and wonderful southern charm.
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
The most difficult age with our children so far has been when my older son was about three years old and my younger son was a newborn and both my husband and I were in our residency programs. I used my limited vacation that I had saved up for maternity leave and was back to work very quickly after giving birth. We were both working countless hours of the day and night and at the same time juggling a 3-year-old and the lack of sleep that comes with a newborn. We could not afford to be tired or lacking focus while at work as we were both in very demanding environments and in charge of the lives of many patients. I often think back to that time and wonder how we ever got through it. We were definitely in survival mode, just trying to make it through one day at a time.
If you could describe your family in only a few words, what would they be?
If I could describe my family in only a few words it would be that we are a very cohesive team that works together and does whatever it takes to help each other.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?
The biggest piece of advice that I try to pass along to moms, especially younger mothers, is to not sweat the small stuff. Kids are extremely resilient, and they do not need everything to be perfect all the time which is what is commonly portrayed in the media and online. Just do the best you can, and everything will be okay.
My mom has given me a lot of advice over the years but one thing that has always stuck with me is how compassionate and caring she is towards everyone she encounters. She always worked full time when I was growing up and worked her way up to the top of a very large bank. No matter what her title was, she knew everyone on a first name basis and always asked how they were doing when she would see them. It didn’t matter if it was the door man or the secretary or the maintenance worker or the president of the bank, she treated everyone exactly the same and went out of her way to make them feel important. I think that is a very admirable attribute of hers that I try to emulate.
What do you value most in your friends?
I am incredibly fortunate to have a great group of friends. I value the time that we get to spend with each other, which is usually comprised of a lot of laughing, but also at times is spent just supporting one another when we are going through difficult times. We are always there for each other for anything that might come up. Everything from needing a child picked up after practice because one of us is stuck at work to helping strategize a new business venture and even helping with bringing dinner over if someone in the family is sick. I count my blessings every day for the friends that are in my life.
What was your career before having children? If it’s the same, how do you balance a career and motherhood?
My career has always been in medicine although there have been various phases of training along the way. My husband and I had our children early on in our medical careers. We had our older son while we were both in medical school and our younger son while we were both residents. I have learned so much over the years about how to balance having a career and being a mother and have made many mistakes along the way. I would say that my biggest advice is to know what your priorities are early on and to never waiver on them, no matter what types of pressure you are getting from others around you. For me, even though I was starting to become a physician, my number one priority was always having a family. I never sacrificed that during my career, which was not always easy because the precedent is to put your career first, especially in the field of medicine. That being said, as an ER physician, I did not have the ability to leave a shift if my child was sick or needed something. So, we always built a very strong support system, no matter where we lived, with multiple layers of support to help my husband and I with our children while we were at work. We are now very fortunate that my parents live two streets over and help us every day with our boys so we really never have to worry about them while we are at work.
What made you decide to start your own medical practice?
After having worked many years in local ER’s and urgent cares, I decided to start my own practice called South Bay MD to offer quality medical care in the privacy of patients’ own homes. We offer in-home consults to patients who live in the South Bay and we also offer virtual consults to patients throughout Southern California. There are many conditions that can be treated in the setting of a virtual visit and patients have become much more accustomed to this after the pandemic. We are available to patients of all ages, both children and adults, and have availability 7 days a week. This has become a huge life saver for many busy families because inevitably a family member gets sick in the evening or on the weekends and it is difficult to access care as the wait times in ER’s and urgent cares have been extremely long.
What are the more common conditions you treat?
We can treat a variety of conditions. The most common are viral illnesses, sinus infections, cold symptoms, rashes, fevers, medication refills, and muscle/back strains. Not surprisingly, we are still seeing many patients for COVID symptoms and management. We are also a very good resource for triaging different conditions. For example, parents and patients often do not know what conditions need to be seen urgently and which conditions can wait for follow-up. If they can wait for follow up, we can advise them which specialty they should see and when. We can guide patients through this process and can help save them time by triaging them to the correct level of care.
What is the easiest way to book a consult?
The fastest way is to call/text your information to our appointment line: 310-300-2804. We have availability 7 days a week. For all information about our practice, please visit www.southbaymd.com or follow us on Instagram @south_bay_md and Facebook @southbaymd.
Thank you Mary! We are so grateful to have you as a resource!