Restoring Happiness and Hope
Gerson Rodriguez-Fazzi, M.D., has been a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins All Children’s for more than two decades.
Hispanic Heritage month marks a time to recognize and honor some of our employees celebrating. Gerson Rodriguez-Fazzi, M.D., has been a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist at the hospital for more than two decades. This month he highlights a few reasons why he has stuck around for so long and why he’s always proud of his Hispanic culture.
Tell us about what you do in a typical day.
My day starts early at 5 a.m. with some much-needed exercise and coffee. The needed blend gives me the energy and focus for what lies ahead. These days my practice is almost fully dedicated to providing care to children with cardiac issues. It’s a very intense, and at times unpredictable job, that requires energy, dedication, precision and a lot of patience and compassion. The Heart Institute doctors meet every morning to discuss the state of the patients in our intensive care unit and the task ahead on the patients in need of procedures. Once we have a clear plan, we proceed with the day. It’s all hands on deck when taking care of little babies for cardiac procedures.
What is your favorite thing about working at the hospital?
I am part intensivist, part comedian and part orchestra director. I make sure the medical needs are met while trying to provide comfort to families and patients with distraction and laughter while keeping the flow and harmony of the surgical procedure. Nurses, surgeons, cardiologists, perfusionist specialists and others all work together to keep the chaos under control. Our reward is to observe a miracle; a baby that now has a future and a family with restored happiness and hope. Long and rewarding days.
After 22 years of working at our beloved hospital, I still think this is the best job in the world and where I was supposed to be in life. I was surprised when I got the opportunity to join the then private anesthesia group. I was the first anesthesiologist of Hispanic heritage to come to All Children’s. It was a great honor and reaffirmation that no matter where you are from, hard work and dedication opens many doors. Someone said to me once: “There is always room at the top if you work hard.” I believe this to be true.
This year's Hispanic Heritage Month theme is Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope. What does heritage and hope mean to you?
Being Hispanic and a Spanish speaker allows me to interact with our Hispanic patient population in a more personal level. A lot more than words are lost in translation; we are warm people that need emotional reaffirmation in a more warm and personal fashion. I am able to provide this in my native tongue with a little extra sazón. I am also happy that I can help my colleagues and ease their burden and improve transfer of information on a daily basis.
Who is a Hispanic American you admire or think people should learn more about?
My favorite Hispanic American is Roberto Clemente. He not only was a super gifted Hall a Fame baseball player; he was also one of the most compassionate human beings ever. He was so gifted and yet so humble. He donated time and effort to less privileged individuals eventually losing his life, bringing relief to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972. He believed that professional achievements and numbers on the box scores were not the only way to impact people around. He left a legacy of compassion, humbleness and love for humankind. I can only wish to inspire and influence the way he did. That would be a legacy to be proud of.