It All Started in a Grocery Store in 1994

It was January of 1994, and I was working hard in a group of Family Medicine doctors, as the only OB/GYN. There were 15 of them, and only one of me – I was outnumbered, and was unable to make my own decisions about my practice and my life. My wife, Maura, met a very nice lady named Ann McEwen at church, and Ann happened to be married to Paul McEwen, who happened to be a medical practice advisor/manager.  Thus, the dream began to become reality. I would meet Paul at his house in Bedford, and we would discuss how we wanted to start the future MacArthur OB/GYN. We talked for hours at a time, and there was this tall kid at his house, named Michael, who was always around with a basketball.

We approached Irving Community Hospital, and spoke to the administrator, Mike O’Keefe, who was very happy to see me come to Irving.  My first day was June 1, 1994, and my first delivery was that day. There was an emergency, and I went to L&D, and said “I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, but we need to do a C-section right now”, and we ran back and did it.

My first office was on the corner of Shady Grove and MacArthur, in an old converted grocery store- I think it was a Kroger. My office was in the bakery section. I shared the office with 3 other doctors and the Adult Day Care. It was 6-7 minutes drive to the hospital, as long as you did not get stopped by the train at Rock Island. If you did, it was a 10-15 minute wait. I got caught by that train several times, and even missed a delivery or two because of it. I stayed in that office as a solo OB/GYN until 1999. Those were the days of LDRP rooms, where you labored, delivered, recovered, and then postpartumed in the same room. As I moved out of that office to 3626 N. MacArthur, across from the Arts Center, Dr. Joseph Kilianski and Dr. Robert Zwernemann joined me in the practice. We quickly became one of the busiest practices in Irving.  After 2 years, Dr. Kilianski left, and Dr. Diane Hughes joined us. We were starting to grow at that point, and then I was lucky to get Dr. Jeff Livingston to join, just as Dr. Zwernemann left the practice. We were able to get Dr. Colette Dominique to join the following year, which helped us grow even more. Dr. Hughes left the practice shortly thereafter.

Paul McEwen, my dear friend and office manager passed away unexpectedly on November 18, 2002. He was like family to me and my wife, and a great help to me personally. That tall kid, Michael, with the basketball at his house, began working at the office and quickly took over as manager and advisor of the practice. He, along with Dr. Livingston and Dr. Dominique, got us started with the EMR, electronic medical records. At first, it was a nightmare to me, as when we had tutorials, the two of them were in the front of the room going “let’s go, go, go…”, and I was in the back going “where is the ON button?”. After a few weeks, and a few long days, I finally “got it!”, and now, I can’t imagine medicine without the EMR- it makes it so much faster to write up a chart. We actually became a test site for Intergy/SAGE.

We really began to outgrow the space at 3626 MacArthur, and when we added Kim Sakovich, WHNP, my sister-in-law, we were needing to expand quickly. Michael, the tall kid, was also a dreamer, and more to the point, a visionary. This was very much like his father, Paul, who would be very proud of Michael. The practice was doing the most deliveries and surgeries at the hospital, which was now Baylor Medical Center at Irving. We looked across the street at another old grocery store (yes, it was!), at 3501 N. MacArthur, Suite 500. I can remember the first time we walked through the space – me, Michael, and Jeff. It seemed so big and there was no way we could fill that big of a space.  Michael, the magician, was able to make a deal for the space, and we built MacArthur OB/GYN. We started with 2/3 of the building, and McEwen and Associates took up some of the space.

Growth was the name of the game, and we all became very busy, indeed. After a couple of years, Dr. Elia Fanous joined us from another practice, and we soon had to expand into the rest of Suite 500. McEwen moved to Building 4, and grew as well. We then started doing more In-office procedures at that point, including ablations, hysteroscopies, Essures, and urodynamics. We quickly went from one sono tech, Joe Valine, who has been with me for 15 years – (he joined me right after I had done 5 sonograms on the L&D manager’s daughter-in-law, telling them it was a girl each time, only to deliver a BOY) – to now 3 sono techs. Dr. Kevin O’Neil joined us the next year, and we were really filling that unusually large space that we wondered if we could ever fill. We started doing robotic surgeries at the hospital, and now are among the top robot surgeons in the area.

The dream continued as we looked west to start a practice at THR Harris Methodist HEB Hospital. I had practiced there in the 90’s, but could not work there and Irving alone. Now that there were going to be 7 of us (Dr. Becky Gray joined us 3 years ago, too), we could expand to another hospital system. Michael and I looked very hard, but could not find another grocery store to renovate. Michael did find the space at 307 Westpark Way, and we got our foot in the door at HEB. We now take calls at each hospital and have diversified our practice. We have our Physician Assistant, Allie Rivard working with us. Recently, we added Dr. Reshma Patel to our staff of doctors at both hospitals. In the fall of 2013, Dr. Brian Enganno will be joining us, as well.

The cool thing about this practice is that we all bring a unique drive or quality to the office. We all have keen interests in different things, and we are able to play off each other and help each other grow as practitioners. We teach each other and assist each other – something very family-like.

  • Who knew in 1994 that someday two grocery stores would be the foundation for the premier OB/GYN practice in Irving, Texas?
  • Who would have thought that we would have all our records in a computer, rather than piles of charts on a desk?
  • Who could have imagined operating on a patient with a robot, and me, as the surgeon, being 15 feet away at a console?

At MacArthur OB/GYN, there are no limits to the imagination…the dream continues.