Dana Padilla was about to have her first surgery, and she was scared. The 24-year-old was told earlier this year that she needed a surgical procedure known as D&C (also known as dilation and curettage). She never had general anesthesia before. She never had a major surgery like this one until now, however, after being referred to Complete Women Care, a healthcare facility in Bixby Knolls dedicated to OB/GYN needs, Padilla realized quickly she was in good hands.
In a telephone interview, Padilla happily described the spa-like treatment she received in the hours and minutes before her operation in August. Her blood pressure had spiked due to anxiety, and the staff offered her a lavender-scented spa eye mask. The aromatherapy immediately calmed her and dropped her blood pressure. The staff turned on music before anesthesiologist Dr. Lawrence Presley would put her to sleep. Padilla liked the ‘80s song that was being played (she couldn’t remember what it was), and the doctor sang to her as she inhaled more lavender– this time through her gas mask– before she drifted into unconsciousness.
“They made me so comfortable over there,” Padilla said. She was told that she would feel less pain after her surgery.
Her unusual surgical experience at the GYN emergent Care Center is the brainchild of Dr. Miriam Mackovic, the founder and CEO of Complete Women Care. The healthcare organization dedicated to OB/GYN needs has locations in Naples, Bixby Knolls, Lakewood and San Pedro. The centers focus on early pregnancy and other gynecological issues. At Bixby Knolls, Mackovic opened the GYN Emergent Care Center in October 2013. Mackovic said that it’s the first center of its kind in California, and another spokesman for the company said that there are few facilities like it in the United States.
Mackovic seemed comfortable at her desk during her interview at the Bixby Knolls office at 3711 Long Beach Blvd. Speaking rapidly and passionately, she explained how her facilities are centered on women’s needs. Mackovic said that she aimed to provide quality care that is comprehensive and affordable. Laboratory tests are also available on-site.
The center’s website claims that patients with gynecological emergencies will be seen faster than if they go to a regular hospital emergency room and that the average wait time for patients to be seen is 20 minutes.
When asked about the need for her new emergent-care center, Mackovic stressed the importance of women’s healthcare related to the female reproductive system.
“Usually OB/GYN issues are those that develop rapidly,” Mackovic said, explaining that ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and ruptured cysts are examples of medical problems that can often develop within hours. She criticized how general emergency-care facilities aren’t well-equipped for those kinds of urgent issues. “Our current system…is set up to address the problem over the days,” she added, “not over the hours… And there is a mismatch between what our patient really needs and our pre-conceived idea [of how] medicine should be delivered.”
Mackovic aimed to change just how medicine should be offered to women. Parson’s experience as a patient is standard protocol for the surgical patients at the Bixby Knolls facility. In addition to the aromatherapy, they also get customized heated blankets, and if patients must remain overnight, they can order from menus from local restaurants for a delivered meal served on fine china. The staff also offers massage therapy with acupressure, if needed.
Mackovic has been developing the procedure over several years. She cited studies that explained how the scent of lavender calms part of the brain and said that patients feel less pain and need less opioid medicines when they are relaxed under this treatment.
She has an extensive educational background. She was trained at UCLA to be an OB/GYN. Mackovic specializes in non-invasive surgical procedures. With science degrees in physiology and molecular biology, the doctor also has an Executive-MBA degree.
Mackovic emphasized that patients need high quality in their care and that extra touch for a deeply meaningful experience. She stressed the importance for patients to feel as though they matter and that that feel cared for.
“Medicine is still [an] art besides being science,” she said.
Mackovic’s medical “artwork” has a practice purpose—minimizing the pain that goes along with a potentially frightening experience. The art just smells like lavender. Patients like Padilla appreciate it.