“By the time I was in the first grade, my family had already decided I was going to be the doctor of the family,” admits Dr. Timothy Mickel, “because, as a child, I would go over to my friend Jane Mickey’s house and play with a toy microscope that she had gotten for her birthday. It was my fascination with germs, cells, and microscopes that led my parents to think the medical field was in my future.”
“It was not a hard decision to come back here and set up my practice,” says Dr. Mickel. “Our family has been in Monroe since the turn of the century. My grandfather was an immigrant from Lebanon who worked as a wholesale dry goods distributor. His brothers followed shortly from overseas. Eventually, one of his siblings started up a similar small business selling sports equipment. You may have heard of it—H. Mickel’s Sporting Goods.”
Like his father, Timothy’s roots are here in Monroe. Born at St. Francis Medical Hospital, his family’s home was right down the road from the current location of his medical office. He attended St. Christopher Day’s School, currently known as Grace Episcopal School, the former Georgia Tucker Elementary, Lee Junior High, and Neville High School before completing his undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and medical school at Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans.
Mickel’s Aunt Kate (also known as Dr. Katherine Mickel Foster), a general practitioner, influenced his career choice. “I wanted to be like her. Nothing intimidated her. She was as tough as nails. If one of us got a cut or scrape, Aunt Kate would put down the sandwich she was eating, wipe off the blood, treat the wound, and go back to eating her meal as if it were no big deal. I thought that was so cool,” laughed Timothy, “and I wanted to have that comfort level when everyone else was squeamish and not wanting to look. Fortunately, I liked school well enough to make good grades, otherwise I would have had to figure out something else to do with my life.”
“My dad was a business man, so he wanted me to become a proctologist, better known as a “butt doctor”. His rationale was really quite practical: everybody has one, everybody uses it every day (mostly), and eventually there will be problems. Although I considered it briefly, I knew I did not want to be a butt doctor. After a summer of working at St. Francis Medical Hospital while in college, I realized I wanted to become a surgeon.”
Mickel has been fortunate to have worked with such fine mentors as Dr. Dan Sartor, Dr. Jack Tom Jackson, Dr. Buddy Rizzo, Dr. Roy Ledbetter, Dr. Birtchel Lyles, and Dr. Tom Fields. They took him under their wings and taught him anatomy, how to sew skin, and much more. They did not treat him as an inferior intern, but fed his hunger for knowledge. They are his heroes and they had him hooked on becoming a surgeon; however, hedid not know what type of surgeon.
Medical school helped Mickel define his skills. Mickel spent two years of general surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital, where President John F. Kennedy was taken after being shot, before taking a side track move to the University of Iowa for Ear, Nose and Throat school, where he quickly recognized a preference to operate on broader areas than ENT. Working on tonsils and spending time in the clinic dealing with stopped up noses and headaches was not his forte.
Luckily, a rare position opening at Parkland Hospital enabled the young Mickel to return closer to home and to the practice of general surgery. This busy hospital helped him hone his skills and led him to choose plastic surgery as his specialty. Although he enjoyed his stay at Parkland, he missed his father and decided to return to Monroe so his dad could help him start his own practice.
“The return of physicians to Monroe who are from here has definitely improved the quality of our health care over time,” says Dr. Mickel. “So many doctors in this community have come from medical families and are second and third generation doctors. Others, like me, could have gone anywhere, but we are homegrown guys. We wanted to raise our families here, to invest in our community.” Dr. Mickel is now the medical director of Monroe’s Children’s Special Health Services cleft lip and palate clinic, which now offers free procedures.
Aside from beautifying people within our community by using his skill with scalpels and injections, Dr. Mickel is an exceptional writer and a regular contributor to DeltaStyle Magazine. He keeps us informed of the most recent advancesand procedures in plastic surgery while making readers crack a smile and snicker with his witty and humorous words. In addition to writing, he also enjoys hunting, fishing, and training for mini-triathlons. His hobby is cooking, which, for a man who has perfected the art of working with sharp instruments, should come as no surprise.
Dr. Mickel is not only supported by his patients and the community, but he enjoys a large support system at home, as well. Together with his wife, whom he met while in college at Vanderbilt, he has five exceptional children. Their oldest daughter lives in Washington D.C. and works at a management consulting firm. The oldest son trades commodities here in Monroe. The Mickel’s twin daughters took separate paths. While one works for Martha Stewart in New York, the other just returned home from teaching English in Ecuador and is anticipating the start of graduate school at LSU this fall. Last but not least, their youngest son is interning on Capitol Hill for U.S. Congressman Vance McAllister while in his junior year at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
This outstanding family is where they are today because of the amazing role model of their father. Our community is stronger because of this same compassion and dedication. How lucky and blessed we are that Dr. Timothy Mickel chose to keep his roots in northeast Louisiana.
By Kylie Stracener