As a child, Dr. Genaro Fernandez knew his dad often came home with gifts from patients, but he didn't understand why until he became a doctor himself.
"For years I took for granted the impact my dad has had on many thousands of patients," he says. "It wasn't until I was in medical school that it hit me. I visited my dad in his office and his patients were so happy to meet me. They told me how lucky I was to have him as my dad and that I should aspire to be like him as both a physician and person."
Dr. Fernandez did just that. He originally planned on becoming an infectious disease doctor, but knew he would always be attracted to cardiology because of his father, also named Dr. Genaro Fernandez.
"I took an interest in other specialties to see if something else attracted me as much, but I kept being drawn back to cardiology," says the younger Dr. Fernandez.
After starting his cardiology fellowship, Dr. Fernandez decided he wanted to specialize further and pursued interventional cardiology.
"Interventional cardiology is one of the few specialties I've found I could have a dramatic impact on a patient's urgent needs and then continue to care for them throughout their lifetime. I am a lifelong learner and over the last decade, the interventional cardiology field has exploded with new procedures in the structural cardiology world."
In late 2018, the Drs. Fernandez had a unique opportunity to perform a case together at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center as the younger Dr. Fernandez finished his proctoring, or final training as a physician-in-training.
"At first, I didn't give much thought about how unique it would be to be proctored by my father, but now I realize how much I have gained by being able to learn from him," Dr. Fernandez says. "It's exciting to talk with my dad about our work and interesting or challenging cases. Now that I'm doing the same work, we connect not only as father and son, but also as physicians."