"He is always very patient, positive, and resolves issues. "He legitimately treats every patient like his family, even very difficult people.” "He treats everything with a sense of purpose. There is never an, 'I'll get to it later' moment." Rafael Velasquez, MD joined the practice in St. Pete about 5 years ago, and it's no wonder he is steadily growing on word of mouth and good reputation.
Dr. Velasquez grew up in Lima, Peru with sub-par healthcare. His father was from the Andes and by the age of 13 he was living on the streets. At the age of 5 years old his Nanny (grandmother,) who was the family matriarch, became very ill. She had become very sick from complications from diabetes and her leg became gangrenous. Sleeping in the same bed as his Nanny he told her "Wait for me. I will take care of you and save you once I'm a grown-up." He was with her in bed her last night on Earth and his love for her motivated him to become a doctor.
In Peru, not everyone who wishes to go to college is actually able to go to attend. With over 60,000 candidates wanting to go to school, only about 200 would get in. The admissions test to be accepted is rigorous and in order to pass this test, Dr. V studied relentlessly for over 5 years. Only the top scoring candidates out of the 60,000 applicants were accepted, and Dr. V was one of them. Passing this test was a great achievement but his battles were not over. Once he completed his schooling, he came to America wanting to complete his residencies at his school of choice, the University of Alabama. One of the school advisers basically told him he didn't stand a chance to get in, as he was still learning English and was from a completely different world than most of the applicants there. Never the less, he was relentless again in his drive to succeed and was accepted into the residency program. From there, he completed his residency at Kanas University School of Medicine, where he was honored to be Chief Resident in Family Medicine.
Do we sometimes have a drive in us because it is a calling? Are we faced with difficulties and hardships to mold us into being the person that someone else will need in the future? Whichever it is, Dr. Velasquez has used his life experiences to propel him into a life of public service to heal others. He doesn't just treat people's ailments superficially, prescribe a drug, put a band-aid on and leave. He looks for the root cause and searches for a more effective, natural way of mitigation. "I believe in coaching patients, because they are not a number. They are a human being."
If you're wondering what a person with this kind of determination does for fun, it's Kung Fu martial arts like Bruce Lee, Yoga and spending time with his wife and kids. In Dr. Velasquez's words, 'Bottom line, Never Give Up!"
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