Q &A with Dr. Skarupa
By Susan Barrow
Florida Doctor – North talks with David Skarupa, M.D., specializing in surgery and surgical critical care with University of Florida Health at Jacksonville.
Medical Education and Training: Medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH; residency in surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI; fellowship in trauma critical care, University of Maryland Medical Center / R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore, MD
• Why did you choose trauma medicine? Did it have anything to do with being a college quarterback? Suffering a traumatic hand injury in high school and watching the surgeon repair it, and having a family member with a traumatic brain injury is what really inspired me. That said, I think my quarterback experience has helped make me be a better trauma surgeon. Both involve coordinated efforts between many teams, with numerous staged and sequenced operations.
• What about your chosen profession do you most enjoy? The holistic approach. We manage patient care from start to finish – medically and surgically –from admission through the ER, to ICU to OR, coordinating through discharge and then following through in clinic. We interact closely with other specialties and I enjoy this collaborative effort. Our division is unique in that we work closely with psychologists to provide emotional support to patients and families during life-changing events.
• About what are you most passionate? I want to make people better. It’s what gets me up in the morning. It’s what keeps me up at night.
• Could you tell me a bit about your family? My wife and I are from Ohio, have known each other for many years and have been together since medical school. As long and challenging as medical training is, it is even more difficult for the spouse. I give her enormous credit for her continued patience, understanding and flexibility. Our son is three and amazes us everyday.
• Where are you during “off the clock time”? Hanging out with my wife and son and enjoying our new home in Jacksonville. It’s great to work for a program that really encourages a balance between personal and professional responsibilities.
• Do you have a particularly meaningful patient experience you would share? A wise man once told me, “There is no such thing as DOA, just failure to resuscitate”. Each save is meaningful, but one in particular stands as an example of why to never give up. The patient was transferred to us with life-threatening injuries, his heart stopping multiple times during attempts. The family was told his situation was, “incompatible with life”. Following months of ICU care, almost-daily operations on nearly every part of his body and multiple extremity amputations, he is now home and contributing positively to society.
• Skarupa is not a common name here. You speak Spanish. What is your background? Skarupa is Czechoslovakian, which is where my father’s family is from. My mother is from Puerto Rico. Both parents have been influential in my life. I studied Spanish throughout my formal education.
• What do you see in your future? I want to continue doing what I’m doing as long as I still enjoy it.