Changes Underway at Malibu Urgent Care

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Dr. Jill Ferguson (left) with her daughter, Dr. Lauren Pike

After spending her childhood and college summers at Malibu Urgent Care Center (MUC)—courtesy of her mother and MUC co-owner and physician, Dr. Jill Ferguson—Dr. Lauren Pike has made her way back to the center as a staff doctor.

“It’s been wonderful. I basically grew up at the clinic,” Pike said, in an interview with The Malibu Times, adding, “it’s always felt like home.” 

Pike joined the staff in fall 2017, working a few days each week. Prior to that, she was completing her residency up north at Stanford University. For her, seeing local kids she assisted at the center grow up and get ready to head off to college was “a really unique experience.” 

When asked about working with her mother, Pike had only good things to say.

“We have a lot of similarities—our voices and personality. We don’t work the same shifts—we get to switch shifts,” she said. “It’s great, like if there’s a complicated case, you have somebody to run things by.”

Ferguson was similarly supportive of the arrangement.

“We’ve been here a long time,” she said. “It’s certainly nice to have new young blood who bring a different approach.”

In an email, Ferguson said Pike first began working the front office as a teen, before transitioning to the back office, where she was given a number of responsibilities including drawing blood, triaging patients, giving injections and placing splints.

Friends of MUC—a nonprofit dedicated to keeping the center afloat and running—President Helene Eisenberg praised the newest doctor and said she had already saved somebody’s life.

In particular, Pike’s experience with ultrasound at Stanford stands out—Ferguson said it “adds a whole new dimension” to the center’s care and service. 

According to the Friends of MUC website, the doctor explained, “In general, we utilize ultrasound to diagnose swollen kidneys, internal bleeding from trauma, foreign bodies in soft tissue, fluid in various areas within the body, cardiac function and pregnancy issues.”

Buying equipment for ultrasound and other services is part of an ongoing project spearheaded by Friends of MUC. 

The actual MUC site has been undergoing construction for months, with a hopeful completion date of June 15.

“But the thing is, when you do construction, it usually costs more than it starts out,” Eisenberg said. “Our construction price has gone up. We also cannot afford to buy the new beds and some of our new equipment.” 

Cost for the construction and renovation of the 60-year-old building started at $634,000; the estimate has now risen to $700,000. The cost has gone up due to the addition of an updated trauma room, various items for the rooms, a second bathroom, a handicap entrance, a new office, a privacy glass and more. 

“We’ve really had to do a lot more than we thought,” she explained, but noted that the construction was going well so far.

The center itself costs around $200,000 per year to keep running. These funds help maintain the center’s long hours, which extend to 5-7 p.m. in the winter and 5-8 p.m. in the summer past the usual 9 a.m.-5 p.m. business hours. Its services are available 365 days of the year, including weekends and holidays.

Eisenberg, Ferguson and Pike mentioned how supportive and great the Malibu community has been over the years.

“It’s going to be a nice, clean urgent care [center] when we’re through,” Eisenberg said. 

For anyone interested in donating to MUC, visit friendsofmuc.org. The center has a “Tree of Life,” where interested parties can donate varying amounts of money for a “leaf” recognition; call 310.457.1294 or email info@friendsofmuc.org for more information.


 Editor’s note: The earlier, print version of this article misstates Dr. Lauren Pike’s last name. Her last name is Pike, not Tate.