For most of us, life in the emergency room is limited to watching our favorite medical television shows. But what is it really like for those scrubbed professionals trained to save lives at a moment’s notice? We checked in with Dr. Paul Knittel, whose experience in the ER prepared him for the expanded and innovative practice he brings to Redondo Beach.
In just 2½ years you have created the highest rated walk-in medical clinic of the South Bay. Tell our readers who you are and what you are doing differently.
I am a husband to one, father of three, South Bay enthusiast, small business owner, insomniac and emergency medicine physician for 15+ years. I am a lucky man to be surrounded by such a competent and compassionate medical team and extremely supportive and gracious patients. My wife, Suzanne, and I opened Dr. Paul’s Immediate Care in April 2014. We saw a need for better, more involved patient care in the South Bay. We’re open seven days a week and offer ER-quality services like X-rays, labs, IV and pharmacy. Most importantly, though, we pride ourselves on keeping the quality of the patient experience at the forefront of our service.
To the non-medical professional and those of us who get our fix on TV, emergency medicine seems to be a very exciting, fast-paced and almost sexy medical field. Is it, and do you miss it?
Right? I think that is why my wife married me. She told me I reminded her of Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney) of the TV series ER. For the record, the only thing I have in common with Clooney is salt-and-pepper hair. Designing my own practice has awarded me the opportunity to use my ER experience to create a much broader, more complete medical practice. My team and I are prepared to handle most patients, from pediatric to geriatric, and their minor to more serious medical conditions. I’ve created something that mimics the diversity of patients and problems seen in the ER without the madness of the ER. Many patients use us for all of their medical needs.
I have often heard you referred to as the “old-school town doctor.” How does that make you feel?
Actually, I am extremely honored and humbled. Our patients are amazing and allow me to do what I love. Our goal was to build a medical practice that would become part of the fabric of our special community. For me, practicing medicine means caring for people at their greatest time of need. We take patient care very seriously. When a person bestows their trust in us to care for them or their family, we do everything in our control to ensure the highest level of care, compassion and support.
I see that you now offer house calls. That seems like a practice from another era. How do you make it work in the
Yes, the “house call” is back. We now do mobile medical calls and visit patients’ homes, places of business and hotels. Our team will come to you on your time, and we perform a visit just as we would in our office. Some of our services include IV therapy, lab testing, evaluation and treatment. When you are not feeling well, a mobile visit can make all the difference.
From what I hear from patients, your commitment and model clearly has its fans. I see you are expanding into a medical group and changing your services at bit. How so?
We are excited to announce that we will be adding primary care medicine and restorative care to our lineup of medical services. Our patients continually ask if we can “be their doctor.” We are very proud to have added Dr. Jennifer Brown to our medical team. She is a Harbor-UCLA County Hospital-trained and board-certified family medicine physician. We will now be able to provide more continuity of care for ongoing medical conditions. Our restorative care services will feature more complex IV nutrition therapies, weight loss therapies and dermatologic aesthetic/cosmetic treatments.
How do you and your family stay happy and healthy?
As so many people can probably relate, I sometimes feel I have two families: my home family and my work family. My wife and I are the lucky owners of three young boys. So staying active isn’t really a choice. Unless we are going to LAX, we are on foot or riding bikes to the beach, park or any of our favorite places in Manhattan, Hermosa or Redondo.
Three boys! How do you handle all that extra energy?
We have recently become active in mixed martial arts as a family. I think it is a tremendous strength- and confidence-building activity for adults and children alike. For families with boys who can relate, those incessant wrestling matches now have a little more structure. And Mom has scored major points with her ability to execute an arm bar.
Do you all follow a strict nutrition schedule?
I strongly believe what you put in your body is as important as exercise. Our local schools have done a wonderful job incorporating nutrition docents into the curriculum. Going to the farmers market has been a regular activity for us as a family, and we see our boys taking more of a leadership role in meal planning and preparation. As working parents, my wife and I have to prioritize our time with family. Focusing on activities that get us moving together—and outside to enjoy our community—is not only healthier but also creating a lifetime of memories.
Unlike Tuscany, the Caribbean or Maui, you need a really good excuse to visit Colombia. Luckily, I had one. A friend of mine was traveling through South America – learning Spanish and seeking humanitarian volunteer opportunities – and had settled into Colombia’s “gringo trail” for a few months.