Eight Nicholls-trained doctors share their most challenging cases


Ryan Matherne Dermatologist 2013For the Doctors feature in Voila 2013 Treating a man with leprosy
Dr. Ryan Matherne 
Joel Comeau 2013Gynecologist for Doctor feature in Voila! 2013 Taking an emergency case out of my field
Dr. Joel Comeaux
John Heaton 2013Anesthesiologist for Doctor feature in Voila! 2013 Relaying tragic news to a baby’s parents
Dr. John Heaton
 Dr. Mark Hebert 2013Thibodaux Regional SurgeonFor Doctors feature in Voila! Removing a patient’s entire stomach
Dr. Mark Hebert
 Ernie Hansen 2013ER Doctor for Doctor feature in Voila! 2013  Juggling gunshot wounds, toothaches
and an unexpected pregnancy

Dr. Ernest Hansen III
 Sheila Pitre 2013Thibodaux Children's ClinicDoctor's feature for Voila! Caring for a child with a rare genetic disorder
Dr. Sheila Pitre
 Dr. Christopher ParisCardiovascular Institute of the SouthFor the feature on Doctors in Voila! 2013 Waiting for a heart to heal itself
Dr. Christopher Paris
 Chester Weimer 2013Thibodaux UrologyDoctors feature for Voila! Performing risky kidney stone surgery
 Dr. Chester Weimer

















Before scrubbing in to medical school, hundreds of doctors in a number of specialties launched their careers at Nicholls. Some never would have attended college, let alone medical school, had Nicholls not existed. Others had multiple college offers but chose Nicholls because of its highly regarded pre-medicine program. Though small, the Thibodaux program has garnered an excellent reputation in the medical community for not only launching students into medical school but also preparing them to succeed once they get there.

Ask Nicholls-bred doctors about their undergraduate experience, and they mostly say the same thing — biology professors, such as Dr. Burt Wilson and Dr. Marilyn Kilgen, were demanding but encouraging, accessible and caring. Coursework in the pre-med classes, especially histology and virology, made their first year of medical school much easier for them than for class- mates from other universities.

Dr. Ernest Hansen III (BS ’87) goes as far as comparing the Nicholls pre-med experience to the NASA space shuttle launch. “There was this sense that even if someone had a menial role, they also helped launch that shuttle. At Nicholls, every professor took great pride in preparing students for where they wanted to go — to medical school and ultimately into the medical profession.”

We caught up with eight doctors in different specialties who earned their biology/pre-med degrees in various Nicholls decades. Here are the stories of their most inspiring yet challenging cases:

— Written by Stephanie Verdin, publications coordinator

This article originally appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Voila! magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.