As a teenager, Marlon Russell was thrust into an unexpected life-saving situation: His pastor had fallen, cracking his skull. “I remember the panic and confusion as no one knew what to do and were frightened by the blood pumping in spurts from his head,” Russell said, recalling the grizzly details and how someone had fetched him for help despite being a young man with no medical training.Thinking and acting quickly, Russell remembered reaching into the wound and, remarkably, grabbing the blood vessel, which he held between his fingers until the pastor arrived at the hospital.In that moment, Russell’s alertness and bold response would save a man, yet it would also act as a harbinger of the later course in Russell’s own life — becoming a doctor. In fact, it was a promise he made to his grandmother, who saw in him the potential before he ever did, prior to her passing away: “It was her wishes, and she used to say to me that some people wanted to become doctors and some were meant to be doctors, and I was meant to be one.”
He now says he is most proud of his career path that began with an unfortunate incident and a nudge from a loved one. The path has included training at the University of Southern California, one of the best healthcare systems in the country, and serving at a top-flight research facility at UCLA. As a doctor of internal medicine working out of the Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group office in Barstow, Russell has immersed himself in the line of work that he believes can reach as many people as possible. He appreciates that patients entrusted in his care have 24-hour access to information, enabling them to make knowledgeable decisions and actively participate in their own care. He strives to ensure that he’s abreast of the latest innovations in internal medicine and ready to offer recommendations in the development of each patient’s individualized plan. Had he not become a doctor, however, and strayed from his early calling, Russell says he’d be a writer or farmer.Why? “I have an extensive imagination and a green thumb,” he said.