John Honeycutt, MD
I've always known I wanted to be a physician, but at first, I didn't really know what kind. Then, in medical school, I was presented with many options and started to realize that I loved using my hands and that the operating room felt like home. I was immediately comfortable in its unique environment.
I also loved neuroscience, so I was naturally drawn to neurosurgery. I clearly remember when I realized this subspecialty was for me. I was on call with a neurosurgery resident, and as we were examining a patient, he explained to me what was wrong on the exam and then said the lesion should be in a certain location in the brain. We then went to the MRI scan and the lesion was exactly in the location he said it would be. I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Then, having the opportunity to do surgery to help the patient was the "icing on the cake". I was hooked!
It also helps that I suffered a broken neck in high school (no worries, I'm fine) that required surgery. It was a fascinating and frightening experience that has shaped how I practice medicine.
Finally, I've always enjoyed taking care of kids. During residency, all of my mentors who practiced adult neurosurgery would tell me that everyone loves pediatrics until you have your own kids. Well, it was the opposite for me. Once I had a family, it just solidified my desire to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. I could now appreciate parents' concerns. It made it much easier to take care of the kids and to relate to the parents.
Over time, I realized that I also enjoyed the new technologies that were being integrated into neurosurgery. So my current passions in pediatric neurosurgery are the use of intraoperative MRI and surgical treatment of pediatric movement disorders. I'm so proud of our iMRI program with now over 1,000 cases completed, as well as our Deep Brain Stimulation program for treatment of dystonia. Both of these programs are among the largest in the world.
When not working, I love hanging with the family. My three girls are into eventing, a form of competitive English horse riding. I never imagined I would be involved with horses, but have become completely hooked. To keep my sanity, I also love reading and keeping fit.
University of Arkansas Medical Center
University of Oklahoma