South Mississippi Surgeons, Nicholas “Nick” Fayard, M.D.
story by Susan Ruddiman photos courtesy of South Mississippi Surgeons
As with many people, Nicholas John “Nick” Fayard, M.D., was reshaped by the impact of Hurricane Katrina more than 11 years ago. He had plans to stay in New Orleans after he finished medical school, but that unexpected curve in the road sent him in another direction. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is his home now, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He practices as a general surgeon with South Mississippi Surgeons.
Fayard grew up in St. Bernard Parish just a few miles east of New Orleans. “I was one of those people who never wanted to leave. The New Orleans area has the highest retention of people who are born there and stay,” he said.
He received his undergraduate degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. He was approaching his third year in medical school at Louisiana State University when Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi.
“It changed people’s lives and derailed plans,” he said. He did clinical rotation and “bounced around a bit,” and at one time lived in a FEMA trailer. Fayard sent out applications and went on interviews for his residency – a requirement after completing medical school.
“It’s a match process,” he said. When he found out he was selected at the University Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, it was bittersweet. He was elated to have the opportunity to train at this noteworthy academic training hospital, but at the same time, it hit him that he would no longer be in New Orleans.
The move to the centrally located capital of Mississippi was positive for him. As he completed his general surgery internship and residency, he made friends outside the medical community. “I wouldn’t have met my wife if I hadn’t gone to Jackson,” Fayard said.
His wife, also a New Orleans native, was lifelong friends with a woman he had also befriended while living in Jackson. It was when Fayard accompanied their mutual friend to New Orleans for Mardi Gras that he got to meet Christine, an attorney, who was living in New Orleans. They married in 2015. “We had to meet through a mutual friend who was in Jackson. It’s weird how that came about,” he said.
Fayard had started looking for a practice to join once his residency was complete. “I was looking at places within 100 miles of New Orleans, and I found South Mississippi Surgeons to be the best fit,” he said.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is the best of both worlds with many cultural similarities to New Orleans, but without the traffic or crime rate issues. “It’s urban enough, but more laid back,” Fayard said.
Fayard selected general surgery because of the variety of cases he sees each week. He practices at Merit Health Biloxi and at Singing River Health System. His office with South Mississippi Surgeons is in Biloxi though he sees patients in Ocean Springs several times a month.
“My cases go from elective to acute trauma. I like being in the operating room,” he said. His cases are generally in the torso, and run the gamut of appendectomy, gall bladder, colon, thyroid, trauma, soft tissue masses and placing in ports for chemotherapy treatments.
Fayard’s skilled repertoire also includes doing surgeries, particularly groin hernia repairs, using the da Vinci robotic assisted surgery method.
He sees patients who are generally referred to him by their general physicians or through the emergency rooms. “I stress good communication with patients. I feel patients are left in the dark at times,” Fayard said.
He wants to ease their worries. “I try my best to use the most suitable amount of words and level of vocabulary to deliver news to patients and to optimize their comfort level,” he said.