Hahnville native and former Louisiana State University football lineman Dr. Keith Melancon has returned to St. Charles Parish and will soon open an orthopedic practice in Boutte despite his ongoing battle with brain cancer.
After spending 16 years as an academic orthopedic physician - first at the University of Southern Mississippi for 13 years and then at LSU-New Orleans for the past three years - Melancon joined Pontchartrain Orthopedics and Sports Medicine earlier this year.
He graduated from HHS in 1982 before walking on to the LSU football program and then going on to medical school following his playing days.
He said his experience as an athlete has given him unique insight into what his patients are going through.
"I’m still dealing with the knee issues. I’ve had six knee surgeries and four or five hand surgeries," Melancon said. "Being a former football player has provided me with the patient’s perspective and the discipline needed to take care of problems as they arise."
Melancon, an avid hunter and fisherman, said it is great to return to St. Charles Parish. His family currently lives in Bayou Gauche where they built a home a few years ago.
"Moving from the piney woods of Hattiesburg to the swamps and the bullfrogs, we love it," Melancon said. "Coming down here fulltime has been so enjoyable. My kids love getting in the boat and going for a ride and catching frogs and checking crab traps."
Melancon said the local school system was a large part of his family’s decision to move back home.
"I just wanted my kids to be able to go back home and go the same high school I went to," he said. "I knew they had a better school system here than they did in Hattiesburg."
His sons are also following in his footsteps on the football field.
Drew is a sophomore tight end at HHS. Dalton is in eighth grade at J.B. Martin and plays wide receiver.
Despite all the attention that is given to sports medicine, Melancon said the clinic will focus on all orthopedic problems.
"We don’t identify a patient by their sport or team, but we try to get them in the best health possible, if they should have a hiccup along the way, to get them better so they can get back to that same level of fitness," he said.
Melancon used to perform orthopedic surgeries until six years ago when he had to havesurgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor. The surgery helped prolong his life but he lost the use of his right arm and now only has partial use of his right leg.
"Since I don’t operate anymore, I focus on treatments to get people better without the need for surgery," he said.
Despite Melancon’s surgery, doctor’s couldn’t remove the entire brain tumor and he is still undergoing treatment. However, he said due to the tumor’s slow growing nature his ability to continue to practice medicine should go on for quite some time.
"It is a slow growing tumor and hopefully it will continue to be a slow growing tumor," he said. " I’m on experimental chemotherapy treatment at the University of Califonia-San Francisco. It keeps the tumor from growing as fast or changing in nature."
For Melancon, he plans to spend the time he has left with his family and helping others in the community.
"That is what I am looking forward to, caring for people who live in the community, not just people who live in other towns," he said.
Melancon said he anticipates that the investment in the community from Pontchartrain Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will result in other medical professionals being attracted to the area.
"When you get a strong basis from a subspecialty like orthopedics, others will follow. We have a nice rural setting in St. Charles Parish but can still provide big city care," he said.
Pontchartrain Orthopedics and Sports Medicine currently provides orthopedists for St. Charles Parish Hospital in addition to having locations in Metairie and Destrehan. The Destrehan location will soon move into a new building that will allow for the addition of a surgical center.
The medical group’s Boutte practice will be located in a building directly in front of Hahnville High School at 14041 Hwy. 90.
The ribbon cutting for the Boutte location will take place on Oct. 4 and the practice will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning Oct. 7.
|Dr. Keith Melancon, who played football at Hahnville and LSU, will open an orthopedic clinic in front of Hahnville High School.|