Med School/Year Graduated: Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil, 1985
Years in Practice: 20
What compelled you to specialize in organ transplant? Was it a field that always interested you?
I chose this specialty because of its complex and ever-changing nature. I became interested in transplant surgery during my general surgery training in Brazil in the late 1980s. It was then that I decided to further my studies in the U.S. That experience sealed my commitment to [the] field and ultimately led me [to] pursue it as a career.
You specialize in pancreas and hepatobiliary (kidney, liver, gallbladder) transplants. In a very general sense, which transplants are the simplest and most challenging?
I’m not sure I would venture to say that any organ transplant could be called technically “simple.” The spectrum of what we do is very wide, and the degree of complexity of each operation varies according to recipient and donor organ factors. That being said, in a general sense, with the organs that I transplant, kidney transplants are usually the least complex, and liver transplants are the ones that can offer more challenges.
What is the biggest misconception about your field?
Most of the misconceptions are about organ donation. The biggest being the fear that if someone is a registered donor, doctors will not try as hard to save that person’s life. This erroneous idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Saving lives is the absolute priority of any health professional.
Are you an organ donor?
Absolutely I’m a donor. I strongly encourage people to consider organ donation, or at least initiate a conversation with their loved ones about that possibility. The organ shortage is a national crisis. Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list. One organ donor can save eight lives. It just makes sense.
You’ve lived and practiced in Brazil and Minnesota. How do they compare to Phoenix?
My formative years were all in Brazil. Most of my immediate family is still there. Brazil is part of me. In Minnesota, I met my future wife and I found my passion for transplantation. Phoenix is where I feel at home and where I intend to continue to raise my family and care for my patients.
What do you do in your spare time?
I try to spend [it] with my wife and kids. We have three very busy teenagers, and between helping them with schoolwork and sports activities, there is not much time left to spare.
What are you watching on Netflix these days?
I enjoy documentaries and British crime dramas. Currently I’m watching, for the second time, The Vietnam War.
“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”
A forensic scientist. I believe I’d enjoy applying scientific methods and processes to the task of crime-solving.