When Healthcare Can’t Wait
At the East Jefferson Physicians Group Urgent Care, Dr. Clayton Mazoue relishes the fact that he never knows what medical challenge is going to walk through the door.
Recently, a travel writer came in complaining of chest pain. She had been sent home from the emergency room the day prior but didn’t want to get on the plane fearing she was having a heart attack. Dr. Mazoue quizzed her on her activities while visiting New Orleans, and he deduced pulled muscles from her mechanical bull riding adventure.
“Two weeks later I got a thank you note,” he says. “She told me I was right and she was fine.”
Even though most of his patients are in and out and gone forever, a surprising number show gratitude for their care. The staff has received wine, cookies, doughnuts and plenty of thank you notes.
“I have to give credit to the whole team,” Dr. Mazoue says. “From the front desk to the medical assistant and x-ray tech … in my opinion it’s a team effort from beginning to end.”
East Jefferson’s investment in Urgent Care has a threefold positive effect, says Dr. Mazoue, who has been medical director for four of the past five years. It builds on East Jefferson’s mission to offer patients the best in quality medical services; it gives locals a new option for rapid, same-day care; and, when Urgent Care patients present with more chronic conditions that can’t be handled on a same-day basis, it provides referrals to East Jefferson Family Medicine or other East Jefferson specialists (like cardiology, dermatology or orthopedics).
“If someone comes in for a cold but we see that their blood pressure is 170 over 90, we’re going to say, ‘This is something you can’t ignore — you need to follow up with a primary physician,’ Dr. Mazoue says. “We’re not drawing off business like some people might think, but feeding it in.”
The hospital’s marketing department confirms plans are in place to add more Urgent Care options in the future. Urgent care isn’t brand new, Dr. Mazoue says, but it’s experiencing explosive growth.
“People don’t want to wait weeks for an appointment, and they don’t want to sit two hours waiting,” Dr. Mazoue says. “If you can get in and out without an appointment in under an hour, it’s brilliant. It’s a no-brainer. We can get you in very fast, which is our goal. If you’re on your lunch break, we can have you back at work in 45 minutes, if not sooner.”
He and the other Urgent Care physicians see a wide array of acute problems, including viruses, infections, ingrown toenails, car accident pain, sexually transmitted diseases, ear wax problems, skin rashes, sprains and stitches. “If you get shot, don’t come to the Urgent Care,” Dr. Mazoue says. “If you’re 75 and you have crushing chest pain, go to the emergency room. But we can deal with a lot of the smaller, transient health issues people experience.”
As a former Family Medicine physician, Dr. Mazoue has the ideal knowledge base to handle the range of needs at Urgent Care. He says emergency room physicians also make very good Urgent Care providers.
Not only does his background help, he says his personality does as well. He likes the constant variety, the instant gratification and the simple fixes he experiences as an Urgent Care doctor. He also feels, as a self-described introvert, that fast-track care doesn’t force long-term relationship building. “To establish a good rapport doesn’t require 30 minutes,” he says. “You can be really friendly and really caring in a short period of time. And I love being able to offer patients care where they don’t have to wait weeks to feel better.”
Are you from this area? “Born and bred … wait, not born in bread … ” he says. (For an introvert, he’s very witty.) “I tried after college to leave but couldn’t functionally make it happen. Twenty years later I’m still here.”
Is New Orleans the best place on the planet to be a doctor? “I haven’t practiced anywhere else … maybe Podunk, Oregon, would be wonderful, but the culture has always kept me here,” Dr. Mazoue says. “For all its good and bad, we have a phenomenal city.”
What gets you out of bed in the morning? “The alarm — and the 6-month-old,” Dr. Mazoue says. “No, really, going to work is not a chore for me. I enjoy taking care of people. I went in to medicine to help others.”
Medical School: LSU
Residency: East Jefferson General Hospital, Family Medicine
East Jefferson Physicians Group Urgent Care
708 W. Esplanade Ave.
Kenner, Louisiana 70065