– Kingwood Emergency Hospital’s kinder, gentler care –
Looking into Dr. Kim Waaso’s expressive eyes, you see the concern, the care and the reassurance that tells you immediately, “Everything is going to be OK. You’re in good hands.”
Waaso is a board-certified emergency medicine physician for Kingwood Emergency Hospital, located at Kingwood Drive and Hwy. 59, just off the north feeder road.
Waaso was meant to be a physician. She took one of those personality and career tests in high school that tells what career matches her personality.
“That test said I should be an FBI agent or go into health care,” she said. “What does that say about me?”
Waaso grew up in a small Lake Michigan beach town, New Buffalo. Her parents are retired Michigan auto workers. She grew up with twin sisters, one now a stay-at-home mom, the other a speech pathologist. And so, the daughter of now-retired Michigan auto workers, graduate and homecoming queen of New Buffalo High School, and the former Miss New Buffalo, became Kim Waaso, DO.
She’s the doctor in the family. A graduate of New Buffalo High, she earned an associate degree in nursing from Southwestern Michigan College, a bachelor’s in biology and a medical degree and four-year residency in emergency medicine, both from Michigan State University.
My dad is a little sad I’m not president of the United States,” she said, tongue in cheek, “but he’s decided being a doctor is pretty good, too.”
Waaso understands the importance of good bedside manners. She developed a strong empathy for what a hospital patient is going through thanks to no doubt because of her five years she spent as a registered nurse, working closely with patients at their bedside, as she completed her undergraduate degree and attended medical school.
For 18 years, she brought that patient empathy with her as she worked as an emergency physician, first in Michigan, then Wisconsin, and finally Texas, where she’s has spent the bulk of her career.
Waaso fits in well with Kingwood Emergency Hospital, a specialty hospital offering concierge-style medical care, a first for Lake Houston.
“We offer an unparalleled degree of efficiency,” Waaso said, “because we truly understand that the patient wants to be in front of the nursing and medical team as quickly as possible. Our processes allow that to happen.”
Waaso calls her hospital’s unique care a kinder, gentler style of medicine because she’s given the resources and, most importantly, the time, to give her patients excellent and compassionate care, and her full attention so she can address their concerns.
“This is something I’ve never had in my 18-year career as an emergency medicine physician,” she said.
Waaso serves two roles at Kingwood Emergency Hospital. She’s a staff physician, providing emergency medical care to those who walk through the hospital door, but she’s also community physician liaison.
“As liaison, I have the tremendous opportunity to get out into our community and let others peek inside our fabulous facility – without actually needing us,” she said.
It also allows the community, especially young people, boys and girls, to take a peek, too, into the field of medicine, Waaso said.
“Holding events with kids in our community is something I love,” she said. “Seeing the smiles of the elementary children as we showcase their artwork or laughing with the HOSA high school kids who pick my brain about what it’s really like to be a doctor is great.”
An important part of being community physician liaison includes her work with Atascocita Fire/EMS where she has served as medical director for 14 years. Easing the grief of local firefighters after losing one of their own is something she’s proud to be a part of, too.
Waaso is not your conventional physician. She developed the first Medical Rehabilitation Team for Texas, dedicated solely to the treatment of first responders at disaster scenes. Her team received the ultimate test during Hurricane Harvey and was so successful that these teams have become a permanent fixture in Texas for all disasters. She was named medical director for one of Texas’ 14 units and her unit deploys to disasters outside Texas, too.
As an emergency medicine physician, Waaso knows all about stress.
“You have to be mentally prepared for anything that walks through those doors,” she said. “Years of experience helps. So does staying current with the latest medical trends. You must be prepared for those night shifts, too. It helps to drink lots of water, eat healthy and take a good nap before your night shift begins.”
When it’s time to de-stress, Waaso turns to her family. Husband Greg, “the kindest person I know,” is retired now after a battle with cancer. Their three almost-adult children include oldest son, Spencer, who “should run for political office,” only daughter, Taylor, “the only one interested in medicine” and a senior at Michigan State, and, the baby of the family, Peyton, a business major at Blinn College who transfers to Texas A&M (Whoop!) next year.
And then there are her two crazy dogs, Bentley and Max.
Waaso is pleased with Kingwood Emergency Hospital’s evolving role in health care in Lake Houston.
“We continue to expand our services as we become more of a necessity in the healthcare community,” she said.
Having a supportive administrative team with the same goals and objectives is rewarding and, frankly, makes her job so much easier. When a patient hugs her and tearfully says, “Thank you,” well, that’s quite a reward, too.
Waaso had a final thought, “When a patient asks if I can be their forever doctor, to me, that’s most rewarding of all.”
To learn more about Kingwood Emergency Hospital, visit www.kingwood247er.com or call 832-777-6165.