Pediatrician Dr. Mary Gaylord joined Clinton Medical Clinic just before the coronavirus pandemic set in, and the team is happy to have her.
Gaylord was born in Massachusetts and she lived in a military family that moved around 27 times with their five children. Gaylord was the youngest of the five. Her father was in the Navy and her mother was a school teacher. The pediatric doctor grew up in Charlotte after her father retired.
The beach called Gaylord closer and closer until she finally found her way to Wilmington, from which she makes the commute to Clinton four days out of the week. She moved from Charlotte to Davidson to Chapel Hill to Greenville to Wilmington.
In medical school, Gaylord was unsure of what field she wanted to specialize in until she did her pediatric rotation.
“I really enjoyed it,” Gaylord said of the rotation. “It was like I fit in.”
The doctor of pediatrics is a particular fan of the way kids bounce back. She noted the case of a child with a sickle cell crisis, who was very sick, according to Gaylord. They knew he felt better when he was jumping over his oxygen line and flicking toy soldiers out the door at people as they walked by. That case, of a resilient child, helped to convince her of the career path.
“I really enjoyed kids and how quickly they get better,” she said.
One summer, Gaylord volunteered at a cancer camp for children. She noticed that, despite their hardships, the youngsters just wanted to play and have fun.
During the pandemic, Gaylord has been able to get to know the families of her patients as they come in for their shots. If she had to start immediately treating her patients, she wouldn’t have had the chance to get to know them the way that she has, Gaylord said, offering a silver lining to an otherwise depressing situation. She also sees some of her patients through video conferencing.
She has had patients that have tested positive for COVID-19, but noted they are doing fine. Currently, doctors at the medical facility are only seeing patients at the office that have to be seen. Others are consulted through telehealth.
The pediatric doctor believes that if everybody were to get on board with wearing masks, then it will be possible to decrease the number of people who get infected with COVID-19. Gaylord said she is not a fan of masks, especially since the doctors have to wear two masks at once along with a face shield, but understands the necessity.
“Masks really decrease the risk of coronavirus, but wearing a helmet and the masks helps a lot,” Gaylord stated.
Gaylord discussed some of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to families and the virus.
“We have so many families who are in really rough spots financially,” Gaylord stated. “Some people are really scared.”
Another downfall is the virus has a habit of traveling through families, the doctor stated.
“As a pediatrician, I haven’t seen some of the really sick people,” Gaylord remarked. “When it’s appropriate, we talk about how the family is doing with the coronavirus and sheltering in place. People are going through a whole lot.”
Gaylord’s care for people has taken her on several mission trips over the years.
“I really have a heart for medical mission work,” the doctor expressed. “So I’ve been to a lot of places where people are from so that adds a good connection.”
She is also fluent in Spanish, which she says helps her a lot with the Hispanic population. She rarely needs help from one of the clinic’s translators. However, her Spanish is mostly centered on medical terminology.
She has been a volunteer doctor for Mustard Seed Orphanages from 2000 to 2016 and she was the medical director for their 2002 mission trip. She made a mission trip with Episcopal Eastern Carolina Diocese for 2013 and 2015. Gaylord helped organize area Episcopal churches to make 400 Easter baskets.
“We were very fortunate to be able to recruit Dr. Gaylord as she was not looking to leave her previous position,” Matt Robinson, practice administrator for Clinton Medical Clinic, commented. “Finding a physician with her background and training is challenging. Her special interest and experience in rural health will provide great value in meeting the needs of our younger and more vulnerable population. She understands and is equipped to address the challenges related to providing pediatric care in a rural setting where resources tend to be more limited.”
Gaylord feels that she works with lovely people and said that it makes the commute worthwhile.
“They are good providers, they are strong providers,” she added. “They’re just good doctors and good nurse practitioners and they’re also good people. I really enjoy it a lot.”
Dr. Ted Bauman, a family doctor at Clinton Medical Clinic, sees Gaylord as a huge asset to the team, especially with her ability to speak Spanish and her experience as a pediatric doctor.
“She’s been, by all accounts, an excellent physician,” Bauman stated. “We’re thrilled to have her.”
Gaylord is the only female doctor at the facility. The doctors have meetings every week and doctors have noted the need for a woman’s voice at that table. Gaylord feels she offers a different perspective for a clinic she said is doing things the right way.
All the providers at the facility treat everybody equally, regardless of insurance status, according to Gaylord. They have a blend of patients that have private insurance as well as Medicaid and Medicare.
“That’s something you don’t always see and that’s something I really like here,” Gaylord commented. “For me, I think that’s how it should be. I think that everybody is equal and everybody should be treated equally.”
Brendaly Vega Davis can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2588.