Get to Know Our Physicians at the Purcell Clinic


Dr. Michael O'Donnell

Dr. O'Donnell grew Allentown, PA. When he was a sophomore in high school, he & his family relocated to Columbia, SC. He earned his medical degree at The Medical University of South Carolina, College of Medicine. He then completed his internship & residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee.

In the summer of 2000, Dr. O'Donnell moved his family to Laurinburg & he joined The Purcell Clinic as a full time Board Certified Pediatrician. He is a member of The North Carolina Pediatric Society & The American Academy of Pediatrics. He is the medical director of Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

Dr. O'Donnell spends his leisure time with his wife, son, & daughter. He enjoys hunting, fishing, & riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Dr. Tharon Howard

Dr. Howard is from Deep Run, NC. She earned her medical degree at East Carolina University School of Medicine in NC. After completing her internship & residency at Duke University Medical Center, she went to work at Henderson Pediatric Center & later, the Franklin County Health Department. She later moved back to Laurinburg with her husband Dr. Mark LaVigne. She joined The Purcell Clinic in 1995.

Dr. Howard is a Board Certified Pediatrician & an active Methodist. She is a very proud & involved mother to her three sons & enjoys outdoor activities with her family.

Dr. Jeffrey Byrd

Dr. Byrd grew up in Laurinburg, NC. He earned his medical degree at East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. He completed his internship & residency at The University of South Carolina/Palmetto Richland University. During his residency he received the Pediatric Teacher of the Year Award twice, The Intern Teacher of the Year, & The Developmental Intern of the Year Award. He later moved home with his wife, Mitzi, & their son, Parker to join The Purcell Clinic as a full time Board Certified Pediatrician.

He is a member of The North Carolina Pediatric Society, The North Carolina Medical Society, & The American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a member of The Scotland County School Board, Laurinburg Optimist, & Deacon in the Presbyterian Church. He also coaches youth baseball.

Dr. Byrd spends his leisure time with his wife, their son, & two daughters. Together they enjoy boating, traveling, & outdoor activities.

Dr. Elaine Jimenez

Dr. Jiménez was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Moca, Puerto Rico. She completed both her undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). Soon after completing her Residency in Pediatrics at UPR, she became a full-time Board Certified Pediatrician at The Purcell Clinic. Being originally accustomed to the small town living, she found it easy to transition into living in Laurinburg, NC. Her close relatives have joined her and now plan on living here permanently too. Dr. Jiménez values the closeness of her family and wishes to have a family of her own. She enjoys sightseeing, trying new cuisines, and visiting with family and friends.

Thomas Rinkacs, FNP-C

Tom was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He started his nursing career in 1990 as a pediatric ICU nurse at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Over the next 10 years while working and traveling as an RN he finished his BSN in 1996 and his MSN in 2000. Both of these accomplishments were done at the University of Carlow, Pittsburgh, PA. He then became a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner in July of 2000, through ANCC. In October of 2000, he moved to Laurinburg where he started out his NP career in family medicine with Scotland memorial hospital though his love of working with children had him eventually returning to his roots. In 2016, he joined the team at the Purcell clinic. Tom has lived with Chrohn’s disease for over 40+ years; thus, he is able to use both his professional and personal experience to help others with GI related issues. He takes one week out of the year to volunteer at Youth Rally; a camp for older children 12-17 that live with bowel or bladder disease. When Tom isn’t working or volunteering he spends time with his wife Debbie (22+ years of marriage), and 2 children: Cassie (17) and Nate (12).

Matthew Thompson, FNP-C

Matt began his career as a respiratory therapist in 1992. He attended the University of South Alabama where he became a family nurse practitioner in 2013. He also became a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2013. He is a native of Rockingham, NC.

Matt enjoys spending time with his wife Pam and daughters Cecily and Olivia. He also enjoys traveling.

Kimberly Patterson, FNP-BC, NP-C

Kim Patterson is a native of Anson County. She was raised in the small town of Ansonville, NC with seven siblings. She is married with one son and one grand-son. She completed her undergrad nursing degree at Winston-Salem State University. She later attended Georgetown University and Purdue Global, where she obtained her degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She received dual board certification by the American Nurse Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and fitness.