Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa tells the inspiring story of his journey from undocumented migrant worker to neurosurgeon and brain cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
An October interview on C-SPAN shows his energy, enthusiasm and optimism, as well as his awe at the beauty of the human brain. He discusses the racism he encountered early in his medical career, his path to becoming a legal citizen of the U.S., and how he keeps up the fight against brain cancer.
QUINONES-HINOJOSA, Alfredo & Mim Eichler Rivas. Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain. 311p. Univ. of California. 2011. Tr $27.50. ISBN 978-0-520-27118-0. LC 2011011531.
Adult/High School–Literally pole vaulting over the fence between Mexico and California with no money or knowledge of English, Alfredo worked in the fields, graduated to shoveling sulfur and then on to scraping fish lard from railway tankers. Within 10 unbelievable and action packed years, he is at Harvard Medical school. The book starts out with 21-year-old “Doc”–as he is called, only a premonition at this time–at the bottom of a railway tanker, overcome by petroleum fumes and literally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as his brain shut down due to lack of oxygen. How he made it out of the tanker, surviving several other near-death experiences along with grueling work and poverty to become one of the top brain surgeons in the country, makes for great reading. Dr. Q’s personality jumps off the page; teens will relate to his challenges, insights, and drive. His naiveté with girls, especially the one who is to become his wife and number one supporter, is fun and honest and allows the superman to show his faults and humility in an authentic way. The path one takes in order to become a doctor and neurosurgeon is illuminating for those considering it, and interesting regardless.–Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, Juvenile Hall, CA