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Critical Care Intensivist Named 2018 Phoebe Physician of the Year

Albany, Ga. –  Enrique Lopez, MD, was honored Tuesday night as the 2018 Phoebe Physician of the year. Dr. Lopez came to Phoebe in August 2016 as a Critical Care Intensivist to help implement a new best practice model of care in Phoebe’s Critical Care Units.

“Dr. Lopez’ leadership has made our transition to a high-intensity model incredibly successful,” said Suresh Lakhanpal, MD, Pres. of Phoebe Physicians. “We are dramatically improving outcomes for our most critically ill patients because of our commitment to this team-based approach to their care. Dr. Lopez is not only a talented critical care physician, he is an incredible teacher, and he is widely regarded as one of the most compassionate doctors on our medical staff.”

Lopez inherited his love of medicine from his father, also named Enrique, who was a cardiac surgeon in Tampa, FL for many years. He became interested in critical care medicine after watching his father struggle with, and eventually pass away from, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “Every person that I treat, I just imagine myself being at the bedside,” Dr. Lopez said. “I imagine my dad being in the bed, and I try to treat them just like they’re family. Because I know what it feels like. I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve lost everything.”

Lopez’ patients notice and appreciate that compassion. One patient who nominated him for the Physician of the Year award wrote, “When I had my accident, he was the best. So caring and compassionate.” A friend of another patient’s family wrote that Dr. Lopez “was a wonderful doctor who was very patient, caring, helped the family cope with a wide array of emotions and was able to explain what was going on in terms they could understand. Dr. Lopez made such a difference for their family.”

Dr. Lopez has also earned the immense respect of those with whom he works. Multiple Critical Care team members nominated Lopez.  One wrote, “Dr. Lopez is a smart and caring physician. He is very gentle and honest with patients and families. When I work with him, I know two things. At the end of this shift I will be exhausted, and I will know I have a made a difference. I can make that difference because he is very clear about his plan for the day and my role in it. He talks with families as though they were his own family. Phoebe is better for having him.”

Dr. Lopez earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami before completing medical school at New York Medical College. He finished his residency and a surgical critical care fellowship through Tufts University School of Medicine at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA before coming to Phoebe.

“When I decided to come down here it was because I knew helping fully implement high-intensity critical care could make a huge difference in this community,” Lopez said. “We have an amazing team, and it has been a great pleasure in my life to see this program grow.”

The Physician of the Year Award honors a Phoebe physician who exemplifies a compassionate commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of southwest Georgians.  Patients, Phoebe employees and other community members submitted 131 nominations recognizing 52 outstanding physicians this year. A panel of experts blindly reviewed all nominations before selecting Dr. Lopez as this year’s recipient.”