OB/GYN Martha Kim arrives in Mammoth from Eugene, Ore.
Let’s just say Mammoth Hospital’s new OB/GYN Martha Kim makes a good first impression.
It was late-September. My wife, three and a half months pregnant, was experiencing some cramping and was understandably nervous. She is at a fairly advanced age for an expectant first-time mother, and didn’t wish to take any chances.
She was instructed to go to the Emergency Room and get an ultrasound.
While I didn’t wish to take any chances either, I also didn’t feel like incurring an ER bill. On a whim, I called the Women’s Clinic at Mammoth Hospital to see if they could squeeze us in for a quick appointment. Dr. Martha Kim was indeed in the office. She was also triple-booked.
I begged. I pleaded. I mentioned my wife’s age and symptoms. Dr. Kim didn’t hesitate in quadruple-booking herself.
And in the course of that appointment, which turned out to be a false alarm, it became clear that my wife felt secure with Dr. Kim – that the experience was interactive. That Dr. Kim listened. That the energy in the room was calm and supportive.
We had found the right person to deliver our child.
Dr. Martha Kim moved to Mammoth from Eugene, Ore. earlier this year after, literally, a four year recruiting process by Dr. Andrew Bourne.
“Andy was pretty relentless,” she said with a laugh.
When Kim moved to Eugene, Ore., in 2004, Bourne had already been there a few years. The doctors and their spouses did some things together socially. Then, the Bournes moved to Mammoth Lakes.
When Bourne began the recruiting process, Kim knew she wasn’t ready. As she says, “being an OB/GYN in a small community is hard. You’re it. You need a solid set of skills. I felt I had more to learn.”
Yet, as a former ski racer, there was always that allure to live in a ski town, as opposed to living two-and-a-half hours away from the nearest one – Mt. Hood.
But there was also the aspect of practicing medicine in a place which may not offer the same variety of challenges.
“I can deliver a pre-term baby, but we [Mammoth] don’t have an NICU [Natal Intensive Care Unit] for babies. And won’t. We can’t support it. It’s ridiculously expensive.
“Do I miss that? Yeah. I did a lot of high-risk cases. But Andy Bourne doesn’t do crazy vascular surgeries anymore, either.”
In the absence of Grey’s Anatomy-type surgical theatrics, however, Kim’s goal is to help Mammoth Hospital be as good and efficient as possible and keep improving its standard of care.
She’s big on training. On a regular basis, she sets up what she calls “Baby Batting Cages” so she and her staff can run through scenarios.
“They were heading in that direction [emphasis on training] before I came, but I’m probably more enthusiastic about it,” she said.
“In my view, we’re good, but we have to get even better, because we’re in the boonies.”
Kim has been married for 13 years to Stephen Moore, who has a Masters in Public Health Policy. They moved here for Martha’s job. Stephen is still looking for work. It’s a common plight for many couples in the Eastern Sierra – the challenge of finding good jobs for both halves of the team.
Moore, however, has been keeping busy. Just see the story in this issue regarding a recent medical mission by a local team of doctors and support staff (including Moore and Kim) to Chiapas, Mexico.
Martha Kim received her bachelor’s degree from Carleton College and her medical degree from Dartmouth College.