ENRIQUE MÁRQUEZ-GRAU, MD, FACS
for his dedication and commitment to the wellness of the Puerto Rican child
A native son of western Puerto Rico, Dr. Enrique Márquez-Grau graduated
magna cum laude from the former College of Agriculture and Mechanical
Arts (“Colegio”), now the MayagŁez University Campus of the University of
Puerto Rico. A member of the second graduating class of the University of
Puerto Rico School of Medicine, Dr. Márquez-Grau was described by his peers
as “very intelligent, bold and spirited”, qualities that became evident during
his long surgical career. He became a surgeon, a pediatric surgeon and a
cardiothoracic surgeon in various training programs in Puerto Rico, Michigan
and Kentucky in the United States, and in Winnipeg, Canada. One of the few
triple board certified surgeons in the Island, he has been since recertified. Dr.
Márquez-Grau is a member of several highly recognized professional colleges
and associations on his credentials and of others because of his standing and
A former resident physician once stated that Dr. Márquez-Grau told him that in
order to be successful there were three conditions to be fulfilled: first, be a good
surgeon; second, be a better surgeon; third, strive to be the best surgeon. Of
course, these words that may sound somewhat odd to the mostly clinical ears of
the ACC-PR members hide the true meaning of his message to the numerous
trainees that have been exposed to his teachings. Surgical competence in the
very select and difficult disciplines practiced by our honoree partially comes
as a result of constant study of the published literature, frequent contact with
the “old” and “new” pioneers, expertise in the coordination of mind and hands,
and a full understanding of “what was” and especially of “what will be”. Dr.
Márquez-Grau’s success has been the result of his superior understanding of
the normal physiology, the pathophysiology of the defect at hand, and of the
alternatives to solve the problem that after his intervention will no longer be
present; in synthesis, he knows how to cure a child.
His peers and colleagues, especially those who have had professional
contact with him, can attest about his critical and clinical approach to disease,
inexhaustible fund of knowledge, and the versatility of his surgical skills.
Many times he has been “consulted” for severe conditions in adult patients
that have been previously deemed to be inoperable and not infrequently he
has been “bold” in his desire to get the patient better and to provide him/her
with a normal or at least a significantly better quality of life.
The pediatric community of Puerto Rico holds him in highest regard. He
has dedicated his professional life and career to the care of children; the
premier pediatric surgeon. Gastroschises, diaphragmatic hernias, volvuli,
all types of atresias and hypoplasias, acute appendices, inguinal hernias,
diseased kidneys, spleens and intestines, tracheas, esophagi, refluxes,
incarcerations, ulcers, abscesses, and tumors: all in a week’s work and
never has a concerned pediatrician heard that Dr. Márquez-Grau is not
available or is too tired.
The physicians that look after children with congenital heart disease, still
the most frequent cause of congenital defects, hold Dr. Enrique Márquez-
Grau in their highest esteem.His involvement with these children began
at times of aorto-pulmonary shunts when prostaglandins were not
around, pulmonary artery bandings when infant cardiac surgery was in its
infancy, and septectomies when Rashkin had not developed his balloon.
Many plans and outings were cancelled by Dr. Márquez-Grau and his
family without remorse so that he could attend to these patients usually
on emergency bases as a result of his commitment to the sick cardiac
child and acknowledging that he was practically the only physician, yes
physician, in Puerto Rico that could intervene in his/her care. “Bold” his
fellow med school students called him: the first repair of Tetralogy of Fallot,
the first physiologic and the first anatomic corrections of Transposition of
the Great Arteries; the first repair of a complete AV canal, the first Fontan
after hundreds of Glenns, and the list goes on seemingly indefinitely. Dr.
Márquez-Grau was for many years our resident Blalock, Waterston, Kirklin,
Magoon, Fontan, Jatene, Norwood, Castañeda and so many more.
Two words have not been heard from his mouth: sacrifice and sadness. The
words that shine from his privileged mind are: commitment, responsibility,
duty, dedication and compassion.
Controversial and at times feisty, of course! But for thousands of children
with congenital heart disease his “spirited” mind and his hands have been
a blessing throughout a successful and fruitful professional life that now
spans through two centuries.
The prize: the smile of a child, the trust of his/her relatives and the respect
of his peers. For this and much more the PR Chapter of the ACC honors
Dr. Enrique Márquez-Grau.