Dr. Laura Montserrat Pérez was selected to receive our Gasol Foundation 2015 fellowship, specialized in Pediatric Orthopaedics in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Want to know why she summarizes this experience as ‘A wonderful stage of personal and professional growth’? Keep Reading!

When did you decide to become a doctor?

Since a very young age, I was always attracted to the vocation of medicine. There’s not a specific moment in my life when I decided to become a doctor, but I can say that the love for medicine has been a constant in my life. Perhaps this is motivated by the values that this profession represents, the scientific aspect of our job, and how gratifying it is to work in a profession in which every day is different and one is able to learn a lot from daily contact with other people

Why the interest in specializing in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery?

During my time as student, I was always interested in the field of Pediatric Medicine. This interest led me to the good fortune of meeting whom would become my mentor in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, the Pediatrician, Dr. Santiago Cepero. Learning about Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery alongside him has been one of the most decisive elements in my career.

Given your experience, what´s the most difficult and the most gratifying part of working with children?

The most difficult part of dealing with children is knowing how to approach the situation with their parents, as it can often put them in an uncomfortable position.

But there are many very gratifying elements too. I could highlight the constant joy children give you, their relentless desire to fight and enjoy life. I could also mention the great challenge of researching everything we still do not understand in order to try and explain many pediatric pathologies. Deepening our understanding of certain childhood diseases in order to be able to respond adequately is an exciting challenge.

What was the main reason for which you applied for the Gasol Foundation Scholarship?  

I’ve always felt that teamwork is a key part of my job. It is the knowledge that other professionals  provide from all  around the world that ensures that the field of medicine keeps advancing.  For this reason, since the beginning of my career, I’ve made sure to study abroad. Applying for the Gasol Foundation Scholarship was an incredible opportunity to visit a center specialized in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery with an incredible reputation.  This facility, under the leadership of  Dr. Skaggs, has an excellent Medical Surgery department, and is one of the major producers of scientists in our field. It was without a doubt, a dream come true to receive this scholarship.

What has receiving the Gasol Foundation Scholarship meant for you?

The Gasol Foundation Scholarship has allowed me to get to know, first hand, the medical field in a country as advanced as the United States.  Known for making advances in Medical Surgery and for the quality of their professionals, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery in the United States has a lot to teach the field in the rest of the world. On the other hand, it has allowed me to learn and to think about other aspects of my profession. Furthermore, It has allowed me to establish professional networks which I otherwise would not have access to, and I am of course, still in touch with many people from the Los Angeles team.  

Share with us an anecdote from your six weeks at the Children’s Hospital de Los Angeles.

One of the most fun experiences was to live a Halloween night at Dr. Skaggs’ house with Pau Gasol. To see the look of surprise on the children’s faces when they approached the house to say “Trick or Treat” and discovered who opened the door, was incredible.

Surely you have gained a lot on a professional level, but what about on a more personal level? Has it helped you to open your mind, broaden your perspectives?

On a personal level, it was a wonderful experience during which I had the opportunity to better get to know myself, to discover great people and to marvel at the incredible places the United Stated has to offer.  This scholarship has been a nice experience that fit perfectly with my way of understanding my profession and life, sharing knowledge and culture.

Could you summarize in one sentence those six weeks at the CHLA?

My time at  CHLA was a wonderful stage of personal and professional growth.

Would you recommend this experience to other young specialists at COT?

Undoubtedly, this scholarship is a great opportunity for improvement and development for young pediatric orthopedic surgeons from our country.  My most sincere thank you’s to Pau Gasol and Gasol Foundation for their wonderful work.

What does the future hold for you in your field of work?

Planning for the future is never an easy task since, unfortunately, not everything is in one’s own hands. But I have always felt we must  live with great capacity for service, respect for patients and colleagues, the ability to work as a team, determination to always go above and beyond and with firm values. I hope to work every day to achieve this way of working in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, without leaving aside, of course, enjoying my profession, and have a good time! This is for me, my most important professional goal.

Further Information: Dr. Pérez has recently published an article about ‘Proximal Tibial Osteomyelitis’ on the JBJS Case Connector Journal. Resume of the article HERE