Dr. Albert Speach has recently joined Mercy Health - Paducah Ear, Nose, and Throat. He and his children are all very accomplished golfers, and he has found the transition to Paducah a very easy one. iMeet this busy doctor who loves Paducah’s small-town hospitality.
Welcome to iMeet, Dr. Speach. Tell us about yourself...
I was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina at Camp LeJeune. My father was a career United States Marine Corps (USMC). He retired as a Master Gunnery Sergeant. My brother and sister live in Syracuse where much of my extended family on both sides still reside.
I was educated in the public-school system. Graduated from LeMoyne College and lived in the Syracuse area until I went to medical school in Buffalo. After graduation, I did a one-year rotating surgery residency at Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo.
I was accepted into the Ear, Nose and Throat residency at Wake Forest University Medical Center, then took a faculty position at the University of Kentucky Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department after graduation.
I was one of the original ENT faculty at UK. They did not have ENT until 1988 and did not have an actual ENT resident until 1990. I entered into my solo practice in Lexington in 1991. I continued my private practice until joining Mercy Health in April of 2018.
Tell us a little about your golfing family…
I am married to my wife Terri. We have three children: Sloane, Byron and Judianne. All three of our children played or play college golf. I also have a miniature Labradoodle named Sommer.
Did you always want to be a doctor?
Yes, I guess I always wanted to be a physician. It’s something my dad wanted for me. I considered the Naval Academy but did not apply because only a small percentage of grads were allowed to go on to professional school. There were no other doctors in my family and actually very few college grads. In fact neither of my parents or any siblings graduated from college (I am the youngest of my siblings).
Will your practice be open to all age groups?
Yes, we see all ages – from young children to seniors. My former practice in Lexington was heavily weighted toward pediatrics and I hope to continue that emphasis here in Paducah. Dr. Brubaker and I will see and evaluate any and all manner of ENT patients.
What does a typical day look like for you?
On a typical clinic day, I will see and evaluate children and adults with head, neck, and hearing-related complaints. A typical surgery day is spent at the Lourdes Outpatient Surgery Center. The bulk of my cases to date have been ear tubes, tonsillectomies, as well as sinus and nasal surgeries.
What's the best part of your job? What is the hardest?
The best part of my job is probably the easiest - treating children who need ear tubes. The surgery, although relatively minor, is life-changing for both the child and their parents. The hardest part of my job is telling someone they have a malignancy. Even if the prognosis is favorable, it is never easy.
What do you like to do in your free time?
We are big golfers in my house. My children are much more accomplished than I am at golf. I am simply a recreational golfer. They have all competed at a high level - mainly scholastically. All three of my children were accomplished enough to earn college golf scholarships.
My wife and I also love to vacation in Hilton Head and have gone there since the kids were little. My daughter Sloane was actually married there this past July 4th.
We hear that your kids are amazing at golf…
Sloane has been part of one Kentucky High School State Tournament. It was a big deal because it was the first state team title of any kind for her high school. In college, she was part of a nationally ranked NAIA college team and she herself was an NAIA All-American. For two of her four years, her college team had the highest GPA of any women’s golf program at all levels of collegiate golf. We are all very proud of that.
Byron’s high school team won two Kentucky State High School Championships. He played four years of Division I College golf.
Judianne ended up in the same college program as her big sister but they are now Division II and currently nationally-ranked. My wife does not play but she has had the hardest job as the official spectator. She has gone all over the country cheering them on.
I know you used to live in Lexington...how does Paducah differ? Have you settled in nicely?
The move to Paducah has been much easier than I thought it would be. Professionally, it is very easy as there is a large network of support staff at Mercy Health working to make our practice successful.
Personally, I have found the area much to my liking. People are so friendly here. People in Lexington certainly are nice, but in Paducah people seem to reach out and are more welcoming. There is much more of a small-town hospitality. For a small community, Paducah has a huge golf presence with two country clubs, a really nice public course, and an outstanding private practice complex – which is fantastic.
There are also many nice restaurants in the area. My wife and I comment how we have not had a bad meal since we moved here! We have actually gone out to eat more here than we did in Lexington.
We love the downtown and riverfront area. We always enjoy the varied architectural features of the homes in Lowertown and Midtown. We love the area so much we decided to build a home here in the Midtown area.
Wow, its great to hear that you love our community. What’s your favorite food?
My favorite foods are things I rarely eat anymore - pizza, pasta and Italian bread. Since moving here, I have developed a fondness for any type of bread from Kirchhoff’s Bakery or any dessert from Artisan Kitchen.