Dr. Luis Fernando Meza Valencia, cardiac surgeon and his wife, Dra. Elaine Suarez Gomez, anesthesiologist have a terrific partnership as part of the Cardiac Surgery program at Hospital General de Medellin (HGM). (Hospital General de Medellin is one of just a few public hospitals that have heart surgery programs.)
Dr. Meza, a Cali native who trained at Fundacion Cardioinfantil under the instruction of Dr. Pablo Umana, Dr. Nestor Sandoval along with Dr. Maldonado now performs coronary bypass, valve replacement, surgery on the great vessels (such as ascending arch replacement, aortic aneurysm repair) at the Hospital General de Medellin as well as several smaller, private facilities like Clinica Las Vegas.
He has worked at HGM for 2 1/2 years since he moved from the public hospital in Manizales (in the coffee-growing region of central Colombia).
Dra. Elaine Suarez is a anesthesiologist who has specializes in cardiothoracic anesthesia. She has been practicing for five years and is fluent in English and German in addition to her native Spanish.
High risk patients
Because HGM serves the public and many of their patients are impoverished, Dr. Meza and Dra. Suarez see a large number of rheumatic heart disease and endocarditis patients. Many of these patients have had very limited preventative care or medical management of their underlying chronic health conditions. A large number of these patients have significant co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, chroic pulmonary disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and nephropathies (kidney damage). This subset of patients almost always presents in the midst of a cardiac emergency.
In the Consulta Externa
Dr. Meza reports that he usually spends at least an hour with his patients during the initial consultation, gathering information, examining the patient and explaining the necessary tests and treatments.
In the Operating Room
Haven’t had an opportunity to follow Dr. Meza to the operating room yet, but we did get to see Dra. Suarez in action.