Dr. Kari Lynn Purcott is Tri-City Medical Center’s newest OB/GYN and her road to being a physician is a winding one. Dr. Purcott grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan where she cheered for the Tigers at the ballpark and the Red Wings on the ice.
One of her fondest childhood memories was leaving the Red Wings hockey game with the crowd. She was young, about 7-years-old, and it was packed. Inside the large tunnel she was next to her father who, with no warning, mooed like a cow to break the tension. The sound echoed, booming in the tunnel. All around, other men replicated the sounds of barnyard animals and Dr. Purcott was laughing. “It was so funny and my daddy started it,” she said, her face bright in adoration of her late father.
Dr. Purcott’s family moved to Florida when she started high school. It was a rough transition. She went from being the girl who danced in a small school where everyone knew each other, to an anonymous transplant. She withdrew. “I remember getting called on in class and I had to clear my throat to speak,” she said, realizing at that moment she hadn’t spoken all day. Still, she persevered and found her way. After graduation, she went to the University of Southern California on an academic scholarship.
She took business classes and started focusing on acting. “I thought, I’m in Los Angeles getting a degree in acting, if I really want to be an actress, I should quit school and go act.” So instead, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and started working toward her dream. She juggled several jobs at once, working on the Paramount lot and at a talent agency.
In the late 90s, she got a phone call that changed everything. Her boyfriend and his brother were in the hospital after a rock-climbing accident in Malibu. She drove straight to the emergency room and became their advocate, relaying messages from their care team to his family in Chicago. “I was talking with the doctor and I was able to understand and translate it and ask questions and I describe it as getting hit by cupid’s arrow. I was like this is what I should be doing! What am I doing now that makes any difference to anyone?” Within six months Dr. Purcott sold all of her belongings and moved to Florida to attend the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.
She was a dedicated student, working tirelessly to earn good grades and pass the board. It was at school she realized Obstetrics and Gynecology was a perfect fit. She loves providing care for mothers-to-be, delivering babies and providing support for her patients.
Dr. Purcott became a mother herself while studying to become a physician. Her pregnancy was easy. “I loved being pregnant, I never had a day of morning sickness. I’ve never been happier in my life.” Unfortunately, her birth wasn’t as easy. She was post-term and it took three days to induce her at the hospital. Finally, the time came to push, “I am like, I’m ready for this, I got this! They come in, we’re all excited, and I push and they immediately respond, stop pushing!” Her baby boy’s heart rate crashed.
Despite her pleas to continue trying the natural way, she was wheeled into an operating room to have an emergency C-section. She sees her baby boy for the first time, but something’s wrong. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. “I remember asking why isn’t the baby crying?” Then, a flood of pain medication knocked her out. Her care team saved her baby and took him to the NICU. Her child is now a healthy, happy teenager.
This collection of experiences allows Dr. Purcott to empathize with her patients and provide support. She cares for patients as young as 13 and as mature as 90-years-old. Dr. Purcott is a Board Certified OB/GYN, completed her residency at Kaiser Permanente and has been practicing for 17 years in Southern California. She has delivered thousands of babies and has performed robotic surgery at TCMC. Her philosophy is to treat her practice as a community where she knows your name and your story, not as a number on a computer screen. Dr. Purcott looks forward to getting to know you and is honored you trust her with your care.