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.