Dr. Angela Mayeux-Hebert never questioned her career path.
“I always knew I wanted to be either a vet or a physician,” she said. “From a very young age, I knew I wanted to work in the medical field.”
Furthermore, Mayeux-Hebert always knew she wanted to be a surgeon. As a medical student, she was doing an orthopaedics rotation when a resident let her assist on re-assembling a patient’s broken femur. She knew then that she had really found her calling.
“I knew at that moment that orthopaedics was exactly what I wanted to do,” she said. “I think it’s the fact that you complete that circle and help the patient. You’re finishing a job and sending the patient on their way. That really suits my personality.”
These days, Mayeux-Hebert is widely known as one of the top orthopaedic surgeons in Louisiana. After studying and completing her residency at the LSU Medical Center in New Orleans, she finished an internship at Charity Hospital of New Orleans, then moved on to private practice in Lafayette from 1994 to 2014. She is now a valued member of the Lafayette General Orthopaedic Hospital team.
With family ties in West Baton Rouge Parish and Avoyelles Parish, Mayeux-Hebert said she was happy to end up in Lafayette.
“The Cajun culture is just a setting where I feel really comfortable,” she said. “When I came to Lafayette to do a rotation at what was then University Medical Center, I said, ‘I love this town.’ I loved the people,” she said. “I knew this is where I wanted to practice.”
Mayeux-Hebert sees patients from all age groups and all walks of life. While she primarily focuses on foot and ankle issues, she has treated just about everything in her nearly 28 years of practice.
“There’s one guy that always sticks out in my mind. He had a terrible tibia fracture from a motorcycle wreck,” she recalled. “He had to have a number of surgeries, but we were able to save his leg. About every 10 years or so, he sends me a card to let me know that he’s still doing well, still working and living his life. It’s things like that that you never forget.”
Mayeux-Hebert also keeps a busy schedule when she isn’t seeing patients. Her husband runs a cattle farm, which she helps with when time allows. She also enjoys woodworking and has started a small handmade jewelry business as a side project.
In fact, the jewelry business has become an unexpected source of common ground between Mayeux-Hebert and some of her colleagues.
“It turns out that one of them hand-carves fishing lures. Another one does duck decoys,” she said. “What I’ve come to learn is that it seems that all surgeons need to do something with their hands and something creative in their spare time. When I told them I do jewelry, it was not a surprise to them. They have been very encouraging.”
Still, even after almost three decades, Mayeux-Hebert has never lost her passion and enthusiasm for medicine. She’s excited by advances in biomedicine and new treatment options.
“I wish I had ten lifetimes to learn everything that’s coming up,” she said. “I just would love to see where we will be in 50 years in terms of treatment. I love seeing and researching everything that’s starting to happen now.”
And even with more bureaucratic involvement in health care these days, Mayeux-Hebert said she never loses sight of the person in her office or operating room.
“The biggest thing that has changed is that there are so many outside forces between the patient and the doctor,” she said. “You absolutely have to keep that patient-doctor relationship in the forefront of your mind. Everything else is just outside stuff. You have to focus on the person in front of you.”