Words: Jordan Regas Photos: Contributed
Born in McAllen and raised in San Juan, Texas, Dr. Michael Reyes didn’t know what he wanted to do when he grew up, but fate seemed to have decided for him. “I never wanted to be a doctor, but everything I did led me in that direction. If someone had asked me, I would have told them I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” says Dr. Reyes.
It started with participation in a pre-hospital training program in high school. During that he became a Certified Nursing Assistant. After going off to college at UTSA Honors College, he was certified as an EMT Basic and liked it so much he became a paramedic while still 19 years old. In five years, he finished with two degrees in Biology, one at the Honors College and another at the Health Science Center in San Antonio for Emergency Health Sciences. Dr. Reyes then went on to graduate from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.
After making stops in Roanoke, Virginia, and Detroit, Michigan for his residency program, Dr. Reyes longed to return to Texas to get closer to family. Family is so important to him that it shapes his philosophy and approach to medicine. Every day he tries to bring the love and care he has for his family to his patients. “I try to treat everyone as I would my family members,” says Dr. Reyes.
God is a big part of each surgery Dr. Reyes performs. He prays morning and night and before and after surgery. He likes to have a running dialogue with God throughout the day, keeping Him at the forefront of all his decision making.
One of the biggest challenges Dr. Reyes, and many surgeons, face in the region is the pure volume of patients they must see. Surgeons stay very busy and are needed so often that it becomes a challenge to give the amount of care and attention they want to give each patient.
“I want to have the time to sit and talk to each patient and get to know them and provide meaningful outcomes,” says Dr. Reyes.
Trying to find a work/life balance is another challenge for surgeons, but he is grateful to have a wife and family who understands how important his work is. Dr. Reyes’ wife and two children are his biggest pride and joy. He tries to spend any free time with his family.
Dr. Reyes is very interested in the field of robotics and believes it will play a major factor in the future of surgery. However, his primary focus is not on robotics, but helping patients with real problems one patient at a time. One day, he hopes to usher in robotics when it becomes more practical and cost effective. “When it is better, then I have no choice — it is my duty,” says Dr. Reyes.