It’s a beautiful day for fishing. Small ripples cross the water while something nibbles on the line. A cool breeze wafts sweet scents of spring through the air. It was a day similar to this which cemented Dr. Timothy Deahl’s decision to make Huntsville his home. A small town without the headaches of fighting traffic, the opportunity to truly develop relationships with his patients, and the close proximity to the hospital drew Dr. Deahl south on I-45 from his hometown to our community. “I remember the moment I made up my mind. I went out to Club Lake at lunch time and went fishing; I caught several fish, but I was no more than five minutes away from the hospital. I could not have had that opportunity in a big city. That was the clincher.” Considering some patients never make it into the hospital from the parking lot to deliver, or that labor might last up to 30 or more hours, the nearness between his home and the hospital remains a big plus for this hometown physician. He was surprised to find out at that time there was only one Obstetrics/Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) doctor in town.
Dr. Deahl knew from junior high school he wanted to be a doctor. “You have this idealistic vision of what a doctor does. You get to do all these wonderful things, and you get to interact with patients all the time…you actually spend a great deal of time away from the patient working on the computer, charting, reviewing labs…unfortunately that does take time away from the patient.” Deahl, however, strives to keep the relationship with his patients as a priority. His decision to choose the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology allowed him to practice primary care, to perform surgery, and to deliver babies. “A practice like ours maintains about 100 pregnant women at a time. The odds of having twins are one in every seventy births. I have delivered triplets, and at one time I had five sets of twins and a set of triplets all being seen during the same time period, which is highly unusual. It is also quite harrowing and nerve-racking.”
Dr. Deahl traded one large city for another when he moved from his hometown of Arlington, Texas, to begin his journey of higher education at the University of Texas in Austin. After earning his degree in 1982 in biology, he spent the next two years working in research in endocrinology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. After graduating from medical school, he proceeded to Houston, where he completed his residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital. A mutual friend asked Dr. Deahl to cover on a few occasions for Dr. Jack Atkins—a local gynecologist who has practiced in Huntsville since 1967. Those few times were enough to bring to Huntsville a new board certified physician in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. After two-years of mandatory probationary period as a staff member of Huntsville Memorial Hospital (HMH), Dr. Deahl’s standard of excellence garnered him a full-time staff position at HMH.
What began as a part-time endeavor in 1991, turned into a full-time practice by July of 1992. Three lovely ladies attend to patients daily in the 1600 square foot office: Maury Mejorado greets patients, Brenda Luker wades through insurance and billing issues, and nurse Sarah Seale takes vitals and readies patients to see the doctor in one of three exam rooms which each contain a half-bath. Also, an ultrasound machine is kept on the premises. SHSU student Morgan Cheatham also assists the staff in varying capacities.
Since Dr. Deahl spends most mornings performing surgery such as hysterectomies, laparoscopies, C-sections, and planned deliveries, he may not enter the office until 10 o’clock. Mondays through Thursdays the office remains open until 5:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Of course, no one can elude the paperwork which comes with running any successful workplace. Dr. Deahl may spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half charting patient information, returning calls, reading lab results, etc. Since babies make their own schedules, Dr. Deahl may be found delivering a new bundle of joy anytime, day or night. This also means he is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for his patients. Dr. Deahl estimates he has ushered around 4,000-4,500 new lives into our community. Many of those infants were Christmas babies, and several were New Year’s babies. When asked if babies he delivered have now become his patients, he quipped, “…a bunch lately. I have had four this week coming to me pregnant that I delivered. It is becoming more and more common. I am also seeing fathers whom I delivered coming in to the appointments.”
In the office, Dr. Deahl performs in-office procedures, assists and educates in contraceptive management, completes work-ups for surgery, walks through the many stages of prenatal care with his patients, and performs a great number of colposcopies, a procedure to further investigate abnormal pap smears. Many of this physician’s patients are SHSU students, and others are the 20-30 year-olds having children. As a longtime Huntsville Ob/Gyn, however, Dr. Deahl has noticed that his patient base has aged with him. “Several women are reaching the menopausal age, so there are different health issues with which we deal,” noted Deahl.
As Chief of Staff at HMH from 2010-2012, Deahl had the responsibility of overseeing the hospital physician staff and their committees in order to maintain a high quality service industry. If staffing issues occurred or information pertinent to the HMH staff doctors needed to be disseminated, as a physician leader, Dr. Deahl also addressed those essentials. For the past six years, Deahl has applied his management skills as a member of the hospital board. As one of 14 members, he meets with the others monthly to discuss strategies and growth of the hospital, new areas in which the hospital might want to move, as well as reviewing financial status. “We basically make decisions in order to provide quality medical services to the people of Walker County,” Dr. Deahl concluded.
In order to maintain board certification, Ob/Gyn physicians must initially submit their case list. After two years of practice, they are required to take a four hour oral exam by three examiners, who are from other parts of the country and experts in their fields. Every six years, they are required to pass a written exam. Also, doctors are required to read a certain number of articles yearly, take quizzes, and submit those to be graded. This process gives the physicians 24 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Deahl also attends conferences to keep updated on current methods and technologies.
Although medicine remains a strong passion for this surgeon, he expressed endearing love and pride for Kay, his wife of 32 years, and their two boys—Timothy, Jr. (22) and Robert (20). Timothy, Jr. will soon be graduating from Baylor with a dual degree in Management Informational Systems and Finance. Although younger son Robert has a form of autism causing some developmental delays, he attends New Danville in Willis, which has programs for special needs adults. One of Robert’s favorite pastimes is watching SHSU baseball with his family.
Dr. Deahl’s dedication to our area, however, doesn’t exist solely with medicine; he contributes his time and talents in many other ways. He and Kay support the SHSU theater department and athletic programs, as well as having contributed to the university’s capital campaign; they have participated on committees and given financially towards the Walker County Fair and Rodeo, and they are active members of the Republican Party of Huntsville. He even played a cowboy who sang with the chorus in an SHSU rendition of Oklahoma.
A man this busy definitely needs time to relax. Fishing ranks near the top of the list of favorite pastimes. Being that the Deahl household is a house divided (he’s a Longhorn, she’s an Aggie), they both thoroughly enjoy going to athletic events, particularly football games, to cheer on opposing teams. They also hold season tickets to attend SHSU football and baseball games. Dr. Deahl and his wife have completely appreciated living here in Huntsville for the past twenty-three years. “Although my wife is a ‘big city girl,’ she has enjoyed becoming involved in this town. I fortunately live three-and-a-half minutes from the hospital. I can be at the hospital in no time. That certainly enhances the quality of life that I can get around town so quickly.”
This couple supports each other; this doctor supports our town, and many of the ones whom he delivers end up as supporting members of our fair city.
Timothy J. Deahl, MD
260 Interstate 45 S Ste B
Huntsville, TX 77340
Phone: (936) 291-2557