Helping Hands

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This Crescent City Physicians internist helps patients overcome obesity.

DrMaureenHeckerRodriquezMedicine runs in Dr. Maureen Hecker-Rodriguez’s family, so entering the field was a natural fit for her. “I’m the youngest of nine, [and] five of the nine are physicians,” she says. She graduated from Charity Hospital School of Nursing, and worked as an intensive care nurse and critical care educator on the West Bank.

After years of working as a nurse, she decided to enroll at Louisiana State University Medical School here in New Orleans, where she also completed her residency in internal medicine.

Her experience as a nurse helps Dr. Hecker-Rodriguez relate to her patients. She’s witnessed the stress that going to the doctor can involve — and knows that, sometimes, stress can cause patients to become forgetful. “I do a lot from the background of having been a nurse,” she says. “I spend time asking questions. I know what it’s like [for a patient] to go into a room and have 100 things in their head.” To make it easier for patients to remember her recommendations, she writes everything down.

Because she specializes in treating adult diseases, Dr. Hecker-Rodriguez sees patients 18 years of age and older; most of her patients are in their 40s or older. “I treat chronic and acute conditions, so I see patients every three to six months,” she says. She also enjoys the variety of practicing internal medicine.

“I like to walk in and not know what I’m getting,” she says. “I do a lot of preventive medicine.”
The doctor takes a particular interest in helping obese patients overcome health issues related to their weight, such as diabetes and hypertension. “I do a lot of teaching because of my nursing background,” she says. Obesity management also includes working with patients who have recently undergone bariatric surgery, who may need assistance with handling portion control or getting proper nutrition.

Part of the reason Dr. Hecker-Rodriguez is so popular with patients is because she doesn’t like to rush. “I’m not known for my brevity!” she says, laughing. “I spend a lot of time with patients.”

She also speaks Spanish — an advantage that proves helpful in her work. “I took Spanish when I was a nurse to help me out, and my husband is Honduran,” she says. “It’s been very beneficial to me, especially in my practice. I used to do immigration physicals before Katrina.”

When Dr. Hecker-Rodriguez isn’t treating patients, she’s taking care of her two children or exploring new hobbies. “[I use] whatever time is left after I’ve cooked and the homework is done,” she says. “I decided to pursue piano at the age of 50, so I’m taking piano. I also do karate.”

DOCTOR INFO
Dr. Maureen Hecker-Rodriguez
Crescent City Physicians
3525 Prytania St., Suite 620
(504) 894-5640

MEDICAL SCHOOL: Louisiana State University
RESIDENCY: Louisiana State University, Internal Medicine
BOARD ELIGIBLE: Internal Medicine