Physician Spotlight: Mark McDonald, MD


Physician Spotlight McDonald MarkMeet Mark McDonald, MD, medical director at Kosair Children’s Hospital


  • Earned his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine and completed his residency (pediatrics) and fellowship (pediatric critical care) at Kosair Children’s Hospital.
  • On his nightstand: Dancing Naked in the Mind Field by Kary Mullis, who invented the PCR. I enjoy his questioning attitude about various scientific views.
  • Favorite daytime beverage: I drink decaffeinated coffee like water before noon every day. I was having too many palpitations with regular coffee!

Why did you become a doctor?

My parents were really the ones that encouraged me toward a career in medicine. I had grown up working in the oil business and always thought it would be expected for me to carry on the family business. My parents thought medicine would provide an easier life. I do not think they were informed about the 24/7 call, nights, weekends and holidays. However, becoming a doctor is not something I have ever regretted. In fact, I know it was a great decision for me.

Why did you choose this particular specialty?

Managing complex critical care patients in the PICU was a challenge I found appealing. Every day is different with varying challenges and difficult decisions to be made. I have always enjoyed coming to work every day. Now that I’m expanding my role, I’m glad I can bring my 14 years of clinical hospital experience to help Kosair Children’s Hospital continue to provide extraordinary pediatric care, educate a new generation of physicians and continue to expand the population we serve as well as the services we provide to benefit the children of our community.

What is the biggest misconception about your field?

That we work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pediatric critical care is a 24/7 job including weekends and holidays. The majority of our job exists outside the Monday through Friday normal business hour schedule.

What is the one thing you wish patients knew and/or understood about doctors?

I cannot speak for all physicians, but most of us do what we do because we enjoy helping and taking care of patients. There has not been a day where I did not want to come to work and see patients.

What is your opinion of managed care and how will this affect you and your practice?

Unfortunately, this is a question that would take pages to answer from all the different angles: patient, private physician, hospital based practice, and hospital administration. It’s going to be interesting to see how it evolves over the next few years.

What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?

I am pretty much an open book, my colleagues know me well.

What’s the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?

Dick Lincoln, preacher at Shandon Baptist Church, told me that the leader of the household needs to listen to others in the household and make sacrifices for them. This led to the decision to sell our house in South Carolina at the very bottom of the housing crisis and move back to Louisville and Kosair Children’s Hospital. It turned out to be the right decision in so many ways.

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?

I would be working in the family oil business.

Who are your heroes in healthcare?

Vicki Montgomery, chief of Women and Children’s Division of CARE Innovation for Norton Healthcare and chief of the Division of Critical Care in the UofL Department of Pediatrics is someone I consider a hero. Through the years, she has been a friend, partner, mentor and role model to me. I hold her in the highest regard.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My wife, Laurie McDonald, is always sacrificing for others whether it is me, my children or others who need help. She is outgoing and always wants to make everyone happy. She has set an example for my children to follow through her spiritual actions and selflessness.



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