The LAFP is excited to recognize John Mercke, MD as our June Member of the Month. Dr. Mercke is a Louisiana native growing up in Lafayette. His parents, Russ and Alison Mercke, own Express Printing and Ad Specialties in Lafayette. He has one brother, Corey Mercke, who lives in Austin. He married his wife, Dr. Lois Buller in 2022. He and Dr. Buller met while in residency. Dr. Buller practices as a hospitalist at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria.
We asked Dr. Mercke to tell us about his path to becoming a family physician. He answered, “I went to undergrad at UL Lafayette and got my degree in finance in 2008. I then worked for one year in sales and management and realized that I wanted to go back to school to be a physician. So, I went back to ULL and majored in premed while I got my prerequisites before heading to medical school in the Caribbean on the island of Saint Maarten at the American University of the Caribbean. Afterward, I did my residency in Alexandria, LA in Family Medicine with LSU Shreveport-Alexandria Family Medicine Residency Program.”
Dr. Mercke described how he chose family medicine, “It’s funny, because I originally wanted to go into orthopedic surgery after admiring the anatomical charts on my orthopedic surgeon’s wall after tearing my ACL. I then thought I wanted to be an anesthesiologist while I was in medical school. But ultimately, I realized I didn’t want to be bored often and that I was good with people. And the multiple applications being a family medicine would have fit me best! So, my personal PCP, Dr. Francine Manuel, I guess played an inadvertent role in getting me to become a family medicine physician.”
We asked Dr. Mercke about his favorite aspects of family medicine. He stated, “Some of my favorite aspects of being a family medicine physician are the versatility and hands on patient care I get to have. Following patients all the way from entry into the hospital as a hospitalist to conclusion of their stay in making sure they are healed and whole again. While the clinic kind of wears me out, I feel like working in the hospital has allowed me to maintain my personal people skills while also not being overly exerted giving too much of myself with clinic time. I also enjoy the fact that family medicine physicians can still use our hands with small procedures. I’ve always enjoyed using my hands whether it be working on a vehicle, playing sports, nerding out on video games, or training martial arts.”
Dr. Merck currently works as a hospitalist/de facto intensivist at Byrd Regional Hospital in Leesville. He treats patients in a 30-floor bed, 7 ICU bed inpatient hospital setting. In talking about his current practice, he stated, “I really enjoy my job and the autonomy it allows me because I use all facets of my training, including ICU, procedures, adult inpatient medicine, neurology, cardiology, nephrology, and sometimes even ER work. I also work during my off weeks as a hospitalist for Oakdale Community Hospital in Oakdale.”
He and Dr. Buller live in Alexandria with their fur baby named Kylo Ren Mercke - a 5lb Morkie bundle of love and joy! He enjoys going to the gym, riding wave runners, and martial arts. He especially loves playing computer games – “especially playing Call of Duty against my wife!” Dr. Mercke continued, “I find there is some serenity and peace that comes with making something new and whole again, kind of like a meditation. I also enjoy reading books and meditating, along with simply sitting on a dock with my wife, enjoying a cold adult beverage while watching the waves crash during the sunset. Snowboarding and a trip to Colorado and/or the beach once a year is almost always a must!” We asked Dr. Mercke if he wasn’t a family physician, what would you be. He answers, “If I wasn’t a family physician, that’s a really good question… I guess I would be a financial planner. But then again, I may get bored with that, so I might do something involving my hands like be a mechanic.”
Help us congratulate Dr. Mercke!