Meet Monticello's Newest Doctors, The Carmicals
Monticello is welcoming their newest doctors to the fold as native Monticellonian Jim Carmical, along with his wife Katey join Monticello Medical Clinic and make Monticello their home with infant daughter, Kit.
The couple both completed their residency at John Peter Smith Family Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas. In fact, that is where they met.
“It was just like Grey’s Anatomy but not at all,” laughed Jim during an interview when asked how the doctors met. “It was like we work too much to date outside of this, so.”
Both had chosen JPS after deciding, before they met, that they both wanted to be general practitioners and eventually settle down in their respective hometowns.
“It was one of those things where, when we went to residency, we both wanted to go back to a small town and do full-scope family medicine,” said Katey. “Which is why we went to Fort Worth because that program is known to train people to do full-scope.”
Jim, who graduated from Monticello High School in 2006, began his journey to medicine when he went to Mississippi State and earned a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences before moving on to med school at University of Arkansas Medical Sciences in Little Rock, where he graduated with his Medical Doctor degree before going on to JPS for residency. Katey meanwhile, graduated from her hometown high school in Desoto, MO before attending a six-year concentrated program at the University of Missouri Kansas City, where she earned her M.D. in six years before choosing JPS for residency.
But regardless of the paths that led them to JPS, their goals and vision of life closely matched the other’s.
“My plan was to go back to my small town and his plan was to go back to his small town,” explained Katey. “Our goals aligned.”
Before they could even consider who would move to whose small town or it they would go to a different rural area, the couple threw themselves into learning all they could at JPS in order to better serve the population of whatever rural town or area they ended up in.
“It is the number one trauma center in Fort Worth,” said Katey while talking about the couple’s residency and the experience they were able to gain there. “We worked in the ER there, we did OB there, we did everything there. We got to do everything. We did three years residency in Fort Worth for General Practitioner.”
For Jim and Katey it wasn’t an accident that they both were in Fort Worth, the heart to give back to the community as a doctor was important to both of them, with Katey being inspired by her cousin’s successful fight against cancer and a teacher’s encouragement. Jim, on the other hand, had medical professionals in his family and said once he discovered being a hunter wasn’t an actual job, he knew the medical field was the way he wanted to go in life.
“I always liked working around the animals on the farm,” said Jim. “My mom’s dad was a doctor. There are a lot of doctors on her side. So I always leaned toward that. I always liked the medical…working on animals. I just always knew I wanted to be a doctor, not a vet.”
The program in Texas is a big one for a reason, their goal, to get doctors out to rural areas in Texas where doctors and specialists are not in abundant supply.
“That program is big because they try to get doctors out to rural Texas where they don’t have a lot of specialists like rural Arkansas where there aren’t a lot of specialists so that is why we chose it,” said Katey.
After completing the program, the couple chose to stay in Fort Worth and continued working at JPS where they worked in the Emergency Department and Katey also worked with inpatients. The couple was able to control their schedules to work hard for 3 weeks and then have a week off to travel wherever they wanted. And they did.
“We were married, we didn’t have any kids so we could work our schedule to where we worked a lot for three weeks and then traveled and work for three weeks and then traveled,” said Katey. “We traveled a lot. It was wonderful. We worked on some of our student loan payments.”
Then, they found out their family was going to grow when the couple found out they would be parents.
“Then (Kit) came around and we knew we had to get back to a small town,” said Katey about the change the pregnancy news brought about. “I am one of those people who grew up in a small town where everyone knew me and I feel that held me accountable, and I want the same thing for her.”
“Knowing everyone in your church, knowing when someone is in a bad way and helping out with it,” said Katey, explaining why living in a small town was so important to her, “where as in Fort Worth, it was a great place to live but you were never really connected. And I don’t know if that was because we knew we weren’t going to be there for a while or because we were working all the time. It was just a…we know that wasn’t what we wanted forever.”
Jim felt the same way, he wanted his daughter to grow up in the same way he did with the small town atmosphere. The couple didn’t however; want to get in a competition over whose family was the best to live near.
“We didn’t want to play the card of whose family is the better family,” stated Katey “so we promised each other when it got to this point it was going to be strictly business and where we thought we could make the biggest difference and where the biggest need was.”
“So it was either going to be Monticello or Desoto, one or the other,” explained Katey, “some of the things that we liked more about Monticello in particular is you could still be in a private group, like this group and work out of it. As a newly married couple that is nice because you can make your own hours.”
Where they could make the biggest impact played a huge role in which of the two small towns they would settle in.
“It sounds like the physicians here, there just aren’t enough,” Katey said. “That was another part. If we were to go to my small town, it is a little closer to St. Louis than this is to Little Rock, so you till have a fair amount of specialists. We like having access to specialists if we need to, but we also have a lot of knowledge about all these things and we want to have the opportunity to use it.”
One thing the couple brings to the table is Jim’s ability to perform colonoscopies and endoscopies.
“Jim doing colonoscopies and endoscopies and offering those things to a small town where, if you are not careful, the elderly will have to go to a big city to get those procedures done. They don’t drive so now their son or daughter has to take off work to get them up there and they are missing work when they don’t need to be missing work. It can be a huge blow economically.”
“Whereas, if you have a full-scope (background) you are trained and you are knowledgeable about a lot of different things,” she explained further. “You can do them here and keep people here and that was big with us.” Another draw for the couple was the opportunity to spend time outdoors and raise their daughter outdoors.
“Obviously being outside is big with us,” said Katey. “I grew up on a farm so we have cattle in Missouri and Jim and his family do all the hunting and they do a lot here and there. Somewhere, where when we have the time, we can just take (Kit) outside and show her the real world. Show her. Find owls. Go riding around the farm and find that stuff and that is big about being here. We have the opportunity to do it.”
Another big draw for het couple were the doctors and the knowledge available to them through the doctors at Monticello Medical Clinic.
“As soon as we found out we were pregnant,” said Katey, “We were on the phone with Sylvia and them saying “What can we do?””
“They are a good group of docs, they have a lot of experience and we thought we could learn a lot from them as far as running a business and things like that,” said Katey. “Things we didn’t have as much experience with because we had always worked for a hospital.”
The opportunities to have the most impact possible in a rural area were just not present in Katey’s hometown of Desoto, instead, by going to Desoto, the couple would have been “cogs in a big machine,” according to Jim. In Desoto the couple would have been working for a big hospital system and the town is a lot closer to the closest biggest city with specialists on hand with just a short drive, a far cry from the traveling residents of Drew County have to do to see a specialist.
Jim is already taking patients and working full time at the Medical Clinic, Katey is taking appointments and is joining him in the practice as she continues to settle in after the move and birth of Kit.
To schedule an appointment with either doctor, call Monticello Medical Clinic Appointment line at 870-367-6867.