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Francisco Cigarroa, MD Chancellor of the University of Texas System

The Beauty of Medicine My first love is caring for patients. I am a doctor, a transplant surgeon, but these days I spend the majority of my time immersed in administrative duties focused on running the University of Texas system in my role as Chancellor. But on this lovely fall day, I am driving from Austin to San Antonio. I will soon be shedding my business suit and changing into my surgical greens; leaving my UT System office in Austin for the excitement of the hushed and sterile Operating Room #6 at University hospital in San Antonio, where I was once President of the Health Science Center before I assumed my chancellorship position. This weekend, like so many other weekends in the past, I am the Transplant Surgeon On-Call. These on-call weekends give me the opportunity to re-connect with the hands-on work I love to do, re-connect with my co-workers and colleagues in San Antonio, and, most importantly, to help train the next generation of physicians. I feel strongly that caring for patients, interacting with medical students, nursing staff, and all who make a hospital a place for healing, also makes me a better person and Chancellor. Passing through San Marcos on I-35, my phone starts ringing and it’s Misty, our enthusiastic Transplant Coordinator. My on-call weekend has begun. “Dr. Cigarroa,” she says, “There’s a kidney transplant due to start in a few hours, at 5 p.m. Are you available?” “I’m on my way now. Alert the OR team that I’ll be there. And I’ll want to introduce myself to the patient and family first, so tell anesthesia to hold sedation until I get there, please.” I enter University Hospital through the lobby specifically so I can greet my favorite Patient Admissions Officer who always gives me a hug and a smile. I head up to the Operating Suite and find my patient in the holding area. I introduce myself, explain the operation I am about to perform, and elicit questions and concerns from my patient and his family. Ideally, I wish I could have gotten to know this man prior to today through consultations and clinic visits over time. 1

Connective Tissue 2013 | Volume 6