As the calendar announced the start of his 80s, Dr. Alfredo Lopez-Gomez ignored the rustling of its falling pages in favor of turning pages in medical books and journals.
At 81, for instance, Lopez-Gomez was still practicing medicine five days a week and would spend a minimum of an hour a day reading medical journals, books, and research papers. He would chat about new breakthroughs at weekly lunches with his younger colleagues at his practice and at MAS Medical Group on Coral Way. He would also lecture residents and interns two times a month at Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami.
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In 2012, Lopez-Gomez told the Miami Herald he was seeing about 30 patients a week, most of them longtime regulars or word-of-mouth referrals. “I’ll continue until my wife tells me I’m no longer mentally OK to work,” he said.
And so he did, until May, two months before his death at his Coral Gables home on July 25 from prostate cancer. He was 86. Despite his own health battle, Lopez-Gomez still saw patients and delivered his lectures at Larkin this year.
“He was lucky because he really, truly loved what he did and he did it ’til his dying day,” his grandson Enrique Alfredo Viciana said. “He was somewhat eminent. In the Cuban South Florida community, he was the stuff of legend because he was a part of the great diaspora of Cuban refugees of the ’60s. He was academic in his approach and never stopped teaching and never stopped learning.”
Born Sept. 24, 1930, in Matanzas, Cuba, Lopez-Gomez moved to Miami in 1961. He repeated his residency and cardiology fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach so that he could practice in the United States.
What a well-respected MD and teacher he was, and beloved by all. He truly was a great one.
Steven Sonenreich, president and CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
“Dr. Alfredo Lopez-Gomez was truly a great and well-respected doctor and teacher. He was treasured by his students, colleagues, and patients alike,” said Steven Sonenreich, Mount Sinai’s president and chief executive officer.
Along with Mount Sinai and Larkin, Lopez-Gomez practiced internal medicine at Victoria, Mercy, and Doctors hospitals, operated his own practice, and worked at MAS Medical Group on Coral Way.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who worked at every hospital who didn’t know who he was,” his grandson said. “My mom is a doctor and she grew up with people saying, ‘Do you know Dr. Lopez-Gomez?’ ”
His daughter, Dr. Ana Viciana, is a pathologist in Coral Gables.
“My fiancée’s grandparents, great aunts, and uncles were patients of his,” his grandson said. “They worshiped him.”
For years, the family urged Lopez-Gomez to retire but he wouldn’t hear of it. “It was such a singular drive for him to learn about, and practice, medicine,” his grandson said. “He lived to do it.”
Lopez-Gomez’s survivors include his wife of 57 years, Maria Luisa; daughter Dr. Ana L. Viciana; and grandchildren Ana Viciana Zapata and Enrique Alfredo Viciana. Services were held. Donations in his memory can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.