Physician Spotlight: Margaret MacDonald, MD


Who or what inspired you to become a physician?

I wanted to be a doctor since I was 3. I am not sure it came from anywhere, as I seem to have been born with the desire to help people. In those days, we didn't know what was possible for the myriad of careers available. You grew up to be a doctor or a lawyer or whatever, so it was in the cards for me. My brain was always interested in all things medical. When I was seven years old, our family doctor made a house call for my mother when she had gallbladder trouble and asked if we had anything in the house for pain. I proudly told him we had Tylenol 3 in the bathroom! (he probably wondered why a seven-year-old would know that 😉)


Briefly describe a "peak experience" from your career: interaction with a mentor, memorable patient, etc.

So many! The most amazingly exhilarating, miraculous thing I ever got to do was deliver babies, and I miss it. During my first five years in family practice, I delivered over 300 babies, almost one every week. It was hard but it was always so fantastic. 


What led you to become involved in El Paso County Medical Society?

Initially, I joined because I am a joiner. I was starting my practice and didn't know anyone in town. I figured it would be a good opportunity. Then, I un-joined due to the pandemic as we all withdrew from many things. I rejoined partly because COPIC reminded me of the zero-sum game, but I have been really glad about the benefits in the few months since. The networking events and sub-committee have led me to meet a few people. The socials are a great opportunity, and I will avail myself of more of those. It's always fun to get to know people. 

The invite for the education sub-committee was another opportunity. Unless I have an excellent reason not to, I usually try things. 


What advice would you give to physicians-in-training who are just starting their careers?

I didn't train in this country, and I know the training is a little different. It is so difficult; by the time you finish everything, you don't feel like you have a lot of choices because even back then, I felt I had so much debt that I had to do certain things a certain way. The best advice is to continue to live like a student, pay your debts off as fast as you can, and then you get to let your heart choose more of where your career path goes. I have never been happier as a doctor since I let go of a prime directive to make money. 


What do you enjoy doing outside of medicine?

It has changed over the years depending on the time, money available, and the capabilities of this little body. I have always enjoyed the outdoors. I spent ten years as a serious sports skydiver. I learned how to fly airplanes. Now, my faith, peace, and justice activities are my most significant extracurricular activities.

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