Dr. Juan Jose Lopez was selected to receive our Gasol Foundation 2016 fellowship, specialized in Pediatric Orthopaedics in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Want to know why he summarizes this experience as ‘The best six weeks of my life as a physician’? Keep Reading!
At what point in your life did you decide to become a doctor and why?
I was not born with a clear medical vocation, the way most of my colleagues were. I wanted to study Physical Education, but due to my good grades in high school and college entrance exams, my parents encouraged me to study medicine. I am so glad they did! Since then my vocation has grown year after year, and I am very proud of my profession; I do not see myself doing anything else in life.
Why the interest in specializing in Pediatric Orthopaedics?
Pediatric Orthopaedics is an area of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology that has evolved a lot in a the last few years and has a very bright future. Working with children is very rewarding: they give to us much more than us to them, which is what awakened my interest this area of medicine.
Given your experience, what is the most difficult and most satisfying part of working with children?
The most difficult aspect is dealing with irreversible diseases, such as cerebral palsy or other oncological diseases. This is made even more difficult when dealing with children, which motivates me to improve the treatments and the quality of life of these patients. Working to help them to live better, with less pain is the most satisfying part of my job.
What motivated you to apply for the Gasol Foundation scholarship?
For me this scholarship was a dream. The year before applying, my colleague in Children’s Orthopaedics, Dr. Garcia Paños, was awarded this scholarship and told me about the beautiful experience he had lived in Los Angeles. I knew it would be very difficult to get the scholarship but Dr. Salcedo (Head of Children’s Orthopaedics at my hospital, Hospital Virgen de la Arrixaca in Murcia) encouraged me to apply and I did.
You are the second person from Murcia to obtain the Gasol Foundation grant, what does this mean for you?
There are only three children traumatologists in Murcia, so it makes me greatly value the quality of my hospital and the work of my colleagues. Getting the opportunity to go to one of the best hospitals in the world in Children’s Orthopaedics was a dream come true, and for that I want to thank my idols, Pau and Marc Gasol and Gasol Foundation.
Share with us an anecdote lived during the six weeks at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.
The first day, just after arriving at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, I got into the hospital elevator with a dog. I could not believe what I was seeing, there were dogs in the hospital and children playing with them! Thanks to this experience, there are now several associations in Murcia willing to collaborate with us to offer therapy with dogs at different hospitals.
Surely it has been a fantastic professional experience, but what about as a life experience? Has this experience helped you to broaden your horizons?
Of course. This experience has helped me to improve my knowledge of Orthopaedics for Children, but also to understand the level of the work that we are doing here in Spain. As for broadening my horizons, after this sort of experience, a person is always more willing to pick up and move around the world.
Could you summarize in a sentence those six weeks in the CHLA?
The best six weeks of my life as a physician.
Would you recommend this experience to other young TOC specialists?
Of course, without a doubt. Working with surgeons such as Dr. Skaggs, Dr. Kay, Dr. Choi, Dr. Ryan, etc., meeting Pau Gasol, getting to know an impressive city like Los Angeles, and living endless new experiences… is something very easy to recommend. I encourage all those interested in Child Orthopaedics to do the same, I promise you will not regret it!