Dr. Jeremy Enslein started off the interview with a short and succinct statement.
“Dr. Salinas is an amazing physician. I’m very lucky to have had him as my partner for the last 10 years.”
Dr. Guillermo Salinas is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases and Interventional Cardiology by American Board of Internal Medicine.
Salinas was born in Mexico City and raised in Baja. At an early age he knew he wanted to be a physician.
“I used to play little doctor games and do surgery on my erasers,” Salinas said.
Though he’s not positive it was his grandfather’s passing with a heart problem that led him to specialize in the heart, he does know he always had an interest in the heart.
Going to medical school in Monterrey, Mexico, then the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and completing his rotation in the cardiology field confirmed his feelings. Upon completion of his residency, he chose to add one additional year of training to become an interventional cardiologist.
“The certificate states that I can put in stents, which unplug the arteries,” Salinas said. “I call it plumbing. I’m pretty much a plumber.”
Salinas moved to McAllen in 2007 with his wife, Erica, and growing family, which has now grown to three daughters. Working first at the Heart Hospital’s clinic, he and Dr. Enslein opened their practice seven years ago.
Though he received the 2016 Frist Humanitarian Award from Rio Grande Regional Hospital, an HCA affiliated hospital, Salinas remains unpretentious.
“The award was a surprise to me,” he said. I guess they like my demeanor and the way I interact with patients and personnel. I’m just myself. I don’t look for recognition. That’s not what moves me. I’m the same person with every patient, every interaction I have. I live my life the same, whether I’m interacting in the hospital, at home or with other people.”
Readily admitting that the challenges of practicing medicine in this day and age are at times daunting, he wouldn’t do anything else.
“It is what it is, and we need to understand the changes, adapt and try to still enjoy what we do,” Salinas said. “Although we physicians complain about the system, I truly believe it’s one of the best systems.”
Watching his patients cope with their medical situations had led him to a unique realization.
“I have had lives in my hands and I’ve seen people die,” he said quietly. “We all die the same way regardless of how much you know or don’t know, regardless of how much money you have or don’t. In the end we are all going to the same place and nobody’s special. Everybody’s equal. I try to respect that when I have interaction with patients, staff, or regular people.”
Salinas would like people to understand that, as doctors, in the end they are simply trying to help their patients.
“Maybe we don’t answer a patient’s questions exactly like they want, but they may not know we’ve been up since 3:00 in the morning for an emergency. I know for me it’s not about the money. It’s about the patient’s life, and making it better.”
As may be expected, the best part of Salinas’s work is what he took that extra year to learn.
“Doing the procedures is my favorite part,” he said. “I love it. It’s that challenging part when you’re doing something with your hands. Having a catheter inside a patient’s heart, it’s an adrenaline rush. It feels good when I’m able to help someone and that’s the main reason why I became a plumber, to be able to make an impact on somebody’s life. I think I’ve been able to do it.”
FACC – Fellow of the American College of Cardiologist
FSCAI – Fellow of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions