LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – Practicing medicine is Doctor Kymberly Rittman’s job. But she said it doesn’t feel like work. It’s a calling.
“I love what I do. I’m grateful to be able to do what I do. It is a wonderful vocation.”
In college, Rittman studied a variety of things, unsure of what she wanted to do. She also took science classes for fun.
“Finally after four or five [classes], I had a friend who was Pre-Med said, ‘Have you ever thought about being a doctor? Like you like this stuff,’ said Rittman. “You have to take this test. And he showed me a book and I knew most of the answers.”
She said she decided to make herself Pre-Med and headed down that path.
She met her husband, Chris, in medical school. The pair worked in the corporate medical world for 10 years before they opened up The Family Clinic of Lynn Haven in 2007.
“Money is not as good when you’re in private practice,” said Rittman. “You know, we made a lot more as corporate employees for sure. But, the satisfaction is a thousand times better. The quality of life is better. We have a good life. It’s a good balance.”
Money is not her primary motivation. Helping others is her real passion.
“It’s the most gratifying thing to see someone who’s afraid not be afraid or someone who’s sick and then comes back and says, I feel so much better,” said Rittman. “Or someone who’s heartbroken and leaves less burdened. Those are all things that doctors can do. They don’t always, but they can. And I love being able to do that.”
It’s important she said to advocate for her patients.
Sometimes that means spending hours on the phone to refer them to specialists, or offering affordable cash prices, and finding helpful resources to prevent the uninsured from being turned away.
“So the system isn’t easy. It’s not even easy when you have insurance,” said Rittman. “But when you’re uninsured and you have need, it’s super not easy.”
Rittman said she and her staff help put them in touch with pharmaceutical companies that have programs for free medication or call around and find their best price. They also call in favors.
“In a pinch, I mean, we have given away our services for free more than once because we felt like that’s something [that] needed to happen.”
Helping care for those in developing nations is also important to Rittman. She and her husband took their first mission trip together to Uganda in 2001.
“I love it. It’s all the best parts of medicine for me,” said Rittman.
She started taking yearly mission trips to Haiti in 2011 once her children got a little older and could tag along too.
“I wanted my children to see the world the way it is and also to experience our faith as an adventure,” said Rittman. “So the only way to do that was to take them places and let them see what they could do in the world.”
Rittman started taking her children on the mission field when they were 12.
In Haiti, Rittman would treat around 200-300 people on any given day with her medical outreach. Rittman also helped start Caneille Haiti Medical Mission, a non-profit organization that aims to bring medical help to the central plateau of Haiti. She co-founded the organization with a California woman she actually met while on a mission trip in Haiti. Through that organization, the pair built a medical clinic in Caneille.
“There’s a medical clinic there that was built so that we could do medicine when we go and hopefully staff it with Haitians so it can be full-time and we can come and go, but Haitians could run it.”
Rittman continued to travel with family to Haiti on medical missions until political unrest in the country made it unsafe.
“The last trip we flew out of Port Au Prince on the day the missionaries got kidnapped,” said Rittman. Rittman, who was in the country at the time with two of her children, made it home safely.
Sadly, she hasn’t been back, and is anxiously awaiting her return.
In the meantime, the non-profit is supporting the Caneille community the only way they can right now. She said they’re providing them money so they can buy cattle and seed.
Rittman said trucks aren’t running that would normally supply food to Haitians, so they’re forced to grow their own. There’s a direct way to donate to this cause, by clicking here.
Last year, she traveled to South Sudan on a medical mission trip with the In Deed and Truth ministry.
Rittman along with her son, daughter, and her dad, traveled to a community called Tonj. There, they tested people for Malaria and worshipped with them.
Rittman doesn’t have a medical mission trip planned at the moment.
As far as where she might go next, she said “God just tells me.”