Department of Anesthesiology

Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellows

Master
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Alexander Dekel, M.D.

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Alexander Dekel
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
My first favorite memory was that I met my future wife during a C-section as a MS3 in the hospital (NICU PA). My other favorite memory was my general sense of accomplishment after studying and working harder than I previously thought possible in medical school, and having the opportunity to be on a COVID airway response team during the height of the pandemic in Boston.

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
CV is another world that we don’t get to fully explore in residency. Watching and learning how the surgeries are done and how devices put into the human body affect physiology is really something else. It’s a privilege to be able to take care of some of the sickest people and to learn from them.

What drew you to the BCM?
They do most MCS devices in the country. I wanted exposure and training in this on top of the standard critical care and CV anesthesia that all fellowship programs offer. On top of that on the interview trail I felt like the mentality here was heavy on education but also laid back and fun.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
It’s hard to find a bad meal here. My taco intake is at an all-time high (not complaining). I really enjoy how many open air places there are for drinks and food.

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
I am looking forward to getting back in the OR, taking care of cardiac patients intra-operatively, and TEE training to complement my critical care year.

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Aidan DeLeon, M.D.

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Aidan DeLeon
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
Living across from Central Park in New York City is an experience I will never forget.

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
Like most, I was drawn to the complexity of cases and intricate knowledge of physiology needed to manage this patient population, but most of all it was the team atmosphere of the cardiac ORs.

What drew you to BCM?
I grew up on North Padre Island, so I was ready to come home to Texas after my four-year hiatus. Texas Heart Institute is world renowned in cardiac surgery, and I knew it would be a great place to further my training.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
I love to get outside to exercise and play sports. You can’t beat having warm weather year-round! Otherwise, the food scene is amazing in Houston. Haven’t found a bad place yet.

What is one new think you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
Not necessarily in fellowship, but I picked up guitar during COVID (although I am still terrible).

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Mario Farias-Kovac, M.D.

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Mario Garias-Kovac
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
I attended medical school in my native Venezuela. At the Universidad de Los Andes, founded in colonial times, nestled in a valley with the Andes towering over. In the rainy season’s downpours, all the surrounding peaks whited out, and a dense fog covered the campus. The scenery could be breathtaking.

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
Full disclosure, I’m a combined Critical Care and CV Anesthesia fellow. My initial plan was to do an ICU fellowship only. However, after spending some time in the cardiac ORs with a seasoned cardiac attending. As I saw this attending race room to room doing TEEs, adjusting plans, managing fellows, residents, and CRNAs, listening quickly to updates, making changes on the spot, and justifying them with quick pearls of cardiac physiology. I realized I wanted that. A dual fellowship is allowing me to follow both of my passions.

What drew you to BCM?
It was essential for me to be in a place where I could get equally good critical care and cardiac anesthesia training. In the interview process, I realized that this was much rarer than I expected. I wasn’t ready to sacrifice one field for the other. Similarly, I didn’t want the regular MICU-to-SICU rinse and repeat kind of fellowship. I was intrigued by the fact that I would spend most of my ICU time in the cardiac ICUs at Texas Heart Institute. The unique opportunity of managing patients on V-V/V-A ECMO, Impellas, IABP, or LVAD, was compelling. For me, THI offered the best well-rounded training.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
Picking a favorite thing or spot in Houston is difficult. We are genuinely enjoying living here, much to the amazement of my wife, a native Ohioan. We most recently lived in an east coast city with a vibrant restaurant scene, so we were pampered in that way. We have yet to have a bad meal in Houston. We live in a lovely quiet neighborhood, and have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the green spaces the city has to offer. Take all of that, add an abundance of beer gardens and breweries, plus great museums, and Houston has a lot to offer. Herman Park and the MFAH are a must-visit. 

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
For the first time, I live close to work. My wife suggested I bike to work, so I bought an e-bike and now commute by zipping between the few runners and bikers in the bayou in the early morning. I never knew a commute could be this entertaining. It gives one a slight sense of fulfillment and helps start the day clear-headed. Biking by the moderate to long line queueing to get into the parking lot is just a bonus.

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Maximilian Lang, M.D.

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Maximilian Lang
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
Making friends with attending’s or other residents and playing golf with them outside the hospital!

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
I want to be able to do any case and safely take care of sick patients when I am in practice.

What drew you to BCM?
They had the best mix of cases of the programs I considered. The large class size means I will be able to work with people who come from many varied residencies.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
I am excited for museums, barbecue, and golfing in the warm weather!

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
Supervising and working with residents will be a new experience for me.

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Simon Martin, M.D.

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Simon Martin
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
My favorite memory was my first day in the ORs. It was awesome to finally be able to practice anesthesia.

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
I love the combination of challenging physiology and close interactions with the surgeons and perfusion. Additionally, being able to perform and read TEE is an amazing skill!

What drew you to BCM?
BCM has amazing cases and cardiac opportunities and everyone is so welcoming and friendly. It is difficult to imagine a better place to learn cardiac anesthesia!

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
Torchy’s Tacos! You have to try all of the Tacos on the secrete menu.

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
I had never done a TEVAR or Mitraclip prior to starting fellowship.

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Nicole Massucci, M.D.

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Nicole Massucci
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
Creating lifelong friends and connections in both medical school and residency – something I hope to continue during my fellowship training here at Baylor!

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
I am drawn to the complexity and gravity of cardiac cases including the integral role we as anesthesiologists play. We must simultaneously have an intricate understanding of physiology while using our critical thinking skills, procedural skills, decision making and communication skills to successfully care for critically ill patients. I plan to leave fellowship feeling confident and able to care for the sickest of patients in any type of setting.

What drew you to BCM?
I wanted to train at an institution where besides a large volume of complex cases, there is a sense of community within the department. The BCM CV Anesthesia Department has the perfect combination of variety complex cases, academic teaching, and collegiality. We were welcomed with open arms and it already feels like a family!

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
I am new to Houston but I look forward to exploring the endless options of restaurants, bars, museums and parks- I’m not sure one year will be enough time to see everything.

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
Yoga and stretching. I also picked up driving again after being without a car in residency – so far so good!

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Michael Morkos, M.D.

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Michael Morkos
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
Favorite memories from residency have always been the times we got to spend together outside of the hospital. We put together a lot of happy hours for the residents, attending’s, CRNAs and techs and it was great to let loose after spending hours in the high stress setting of the OR. Around Christmas we organized a white elephant party at Top Golf to give each other gag gifts which was always a hit. We were also heavily involved in the community organizing soup kitchens around the holidays, and collecting funds around the city for pulse oximetry devices for third world countries to name a couple.

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
CV Anesthesia drew me in because it combined everything I love about our field. The physiology and pathophysiology of the heart and lungs come at an all-time high and you can actually see how we manipulate a patients’ hemodynamics in real time using our instruments like the NIRS, PAC and of course the TEE. The hands-on nature of putting in arterial lines, central lines and CSF drains is something we all enjoy and try to get proficient with. The heart room in general gave me a sense of teamwork between the cardiac surgeons, perfusionists, nurses and techs that you won’t see in any other subspecialty OR.

What drew you to BCM?
So many things. The familial atmosphere here is unmatched. You truly feel like colleagues with the attending’s and it was easy to pick up on those vibes just from the interview, which can’t be faked. Everyone comes in with different experiences and backgrounds, but the staff treat all the fellows with respect and patience which is crucial to our success and development. It’s easy to see that they have a vested interest in our success as graduates of BCM. I’ve only been here for a very short time and I’m already in love with our program and the physicians here, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

We also have world renowned surgeons at our institution, so we see every pathology you would hope to have exposure to during training. The case variety and complexity at BCM is second to none and being able to sit in our own cases and follow our patients' intraoperative course is invaluable to our education. There is no doubt that as a graduate of BCM, you will be able to provide a safe anesthetic to some of the sickest patients in the area.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
The food! There are so many restaurants, bars and food trucks to explore and many more are popping up every day. Whichever type of cuisine you love, we have it here in abundance which is one of the best things about living in a large city like Houston. There are also so many events around the city every month so you can go to sports events all year round, pick up new interests/hobbies, visit museums etc. Houston has so much to offer.

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
Outside of the OR, I started baking. I started watching The Great British Baking Show during my study breaks and decided to try my hand at some different types of bread. Still a work in progress...

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Zachary Taylor, M.D.

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Zachary Taylor, M.D.
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
Volunteering in a rural clinic in Guatemala

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
I chose it to acquire the skills and knowledge required to manage the complexity and acuity of the patients in the operating room, and the ICU.

What drew you to BCM?
The rich history of cardiac surgery, and the inspiring faculty that work here.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
NASA

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
Becoming a “dad”.

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Wendy Tsai, M.D.

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Wendy Tsai, M.D.
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
Spending time with friends I met through medical school and residency, whether it was trying new restaurants, running around the park, or traveling to new cities and countries together.

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
CV is another world that we don’t get to fully explore in residency. Watching and learning how the surgeries are done and how devices put into the human body affect physiology is really something else. It’s a privilege to be able to take care some of the sickest people and to learn from them.

What drew you to BCM?
The high volume of cases and variety of pathologies, surgery techniques, etc. that fellows here are exposed to is really attractive. The attendings are super capable and fun to learn from as well as work with, and the alumni I’ve worked with have been some of the best anesthesiologists I have met.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
Bakeries like Dessert Gallery, La Sicilia, and the ones in Chinatown. And then the gym to burn off the calories so that I can eat more carbs.

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
Attending EDM concerts. Great music. Great exercise.

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Claudia Wei, M.D.

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Claudia Wei, M.D.
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What is your favorite memory from medical school or residency?
The first time I signed a prescription for a patient I discharged from the hospital as an intern.

Why did you choose cardiovascular anesthesia?
I have a background in chemical engineering. Many of the same concepts such as fluid dynamics that are important in engineering are important in CV anesthesia.

What drew you to BCM?
The staff really care about the fellows’ education and go out of their way to teach.

What’s your favorite thing and/or spot in Houston?
Chinatown

What is one new thing you started in fellowship that you hadn’t done before?
Using an air fryer.