Father and daughter doctor duo care for ER patients at LMH

photo by: Photo courtesy of Adelle McMahon

Dr. Paul Loney and Dr. Adelle McMahon are a father and daughter pair who both work in the Emergency Department at LMH Health.

More than 2,000 employees work together at LMH Health to care for our patients and community. If you’ve been a patient in the Emergency Department, there’s a chance that you’ve been seen by Dr. Paul Loney or Dr. Adelle McMahon. What you might not know is that they’re a father-daughter duo teaming up to provide care for you.

Loney has worked at LMH Health as a physician with Lawrence Emergency Medicine Associates (LEMA) since February 1995. He has seen many changes over the years at LMH.

“When I started working in the ED, that unit only had 10 beds. Remodeling added five more rooms and then we opened the new ED in 2008, and now we’ve got 29 beds,” he said.

McMahon knew pretty early on that she wanted to be a physician. She remembers growing up around the hospital and the impression it made.

“I grew up walking the halls of LMH Health, and in some ways it felt like home,” she said. “I wanted to become the doctor that knew how to do everything. If you get hit with a baseball or someone collapses, you want an ER doctor to be there. That’s who I wanted to be.”

While Loney would have been supportive of her career path, there wasn’t a time when McMahon asked if he thought she should become a doctor. When she made that decision, he didn’t push her into emergency medicine. She came to that conclusion all on her own.

“When I went into medical school, I was convinced I didn’t want to go into emergency medicine because I thought I was different from my dad. It turns out that I was wrong,” McMahon said with a smile.

The practice of medicine continues to change and evolve over the years. Loney shared that working in an emergency department was different when he started his career than it has been for his daughter.

“When I started in the ER, you’d diagnose and treat a patient. Emergency medicine is now a critical care specialty,” he explained. “I had to learn critical care skills on the job, and Adelle has learned them in school. The younger doctors are better trained in that aspect than I was, and it’s great to see that.”

Getting the job

Interviewing for a job can be stressful, and even more so when your dad is one of the partners in the practice where you’re trying to land a job. But it wasn’t only McMahon who felt the pressure; Loney did too.

“When Adelle interviewed with LEMA, it was stressful for me. I didn’t want people to get the idea that she was hired because she’s my daughter,” he said. “She stepped up, did extra things, extra shifts, and really proved her mettle. It was frustrating for me, but I’m grateful for that process because she earned it. They hired her because she was the best.”

McMahon said that to make things even more fair, Loney was entirely removed from the process.

“He wasn’t in the interviews, the group messages — none of it. Everyone wanted this to be a fair, neutral assessment,” she said.

Now that Drs. Loney and McMahon work together, you might think it could be complicated. Neither feels any pressure. Working with each other has the opposite effect.

“All of the partners we work with are a joy, and you can always lean on them,” Loney said. “There’s an odd calm when Adelle and I work together. It’s very cool to be in each other’s presence in the emergency room setting.”

McMahon agrees with her dad. She appreciates being able to add this layer to their relationship.

“The first cardiac arrest patient I had after residency was when I was on shift with him. He popped his head into the room to make sure I was OK, and I was,” she recalled. “We crack the same jokes we would at home, but we’ve added this element that I don’t have with anyone else in the family. I’ve looked up to him all my life, and now we’re equals.”

If you happen to be in the LMH Health Emergency Department, look around at the names of those who care for you. You might find that you’re being treated by this father-daughter duo. Loney knows that you’ll get great care from them and all of their partners at LEMA.

“The care we provide at LMH Health is top notch,” he said. “The doctors we work with are phenomenal and make sure that we’ve got enough time for a life outside work — family, going to the lake or Royals games. Lawrence is the kind of place I want to continue to work in.”

— Autumn Bishop is the marketing manager and content strategist at LMH Health, which is a sponsor of the Lawrence Journal-World’s health section.


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