Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

by Miguel from San Diego

A picture of Dr. Q ( ())
A picture of Dr. Q ( ())

"Every time I take a blood vessel, I am scared," he says. "There are no absolutes in what I do." Even if the surgery appears to go well, the patient could wake up blind, or unable to speak, or worse. There's no way to know" (Wenner, Melinda). The weight of a person's life is a thing most people can't handle. Most would shy away from the from the responsibility of another human's life. However most people aren't as skilled and determined as Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa. Quinones was born to a poor family in Mexicali, Mexico. His family could barely support themselves when their gas station was taken due to Mexico's economy collapsing in the mid 1970s. At the age of 18 he decided to leave for America to live a better life. With barely any money he made the dangerous and illegal trip across the border, and began working on a farm. However living in America wasn't enough, so he began going to community college. By busting his ass at school he was able to transfer to Berkeley and eventually Harvard. After studying medicine Quinones graduated Harvard in 1999, becoming a Neurosurgeon and Professor at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Heroes have a powerful drive and the need to help others. The drive allows heroes to achieve success. Along with the need to help others which shows good heart and character. Quinones determination toward his goals and his want to help others are what make him a true hero.

One of a hero's great traits is their determination towards accomplishing their goals, and Quinones is no stranger to determination. At the age of eighteen he displayed his determination by pursuing a dangerous goal. "I had big dreams and I wanted more education. So in 1987, when I was 19, I went up to the border between Mexicali and the United States and hopped the fence." (Dreifus, Claudia). At the young age of 19 Quinones was able to realize his goal and the actions he would need to take to achieve it. The dangers of crossing the border did not stand in the way of quinones goal.He was determined to get through and did so successfully. Yet that was not Quinones only display of determination. After arriving in America Quinones began working towards the rest of his goal. "While continuing to work manual labor jobs, he attended community college in California. Encouraged by family and friends, he applied to prestigious U.S. universities and received a scholarship from the University of California, Berkeley, from which he graduated with honors. He went to medical school at Harvard University, graduating cum laude in 1999" (NEUROSURGEON). Quinones goal was a better life and even though he had already made it to America he was determined to get farther in life. His drive shows in the work he did towards becoming a surgeon. Even while doing multiple back breaking jobs, Quinones still went to school worked hard, and got the grades to strive further. His perseverance and grit are the things that made him the successful man he is today.

After achieving his knowledge and skill in medicine Quinones knew what he wanted to do. Helping others became his passion. So he chose to become a "neurosurgeon and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he performs over two hundred brain operations per year" (Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa). Like a true hero Quinones wants to help those in need. So he used his skill and knowledge of medicine to help those with some of the most life threatening and difficult diseases to treat. Spending hours in surgery removing a tumor to save someone's life. However he goes beyond his job of saving lives and conducts research at two of his very own labs, trying to uncover the mysteries of brain cancer. "His first lab focuses on neural stem cells, elusive characters that Quinones thinks may offer insight into brain cancer and neurodegenerative diseases" while his second lab "is developing a 10,000-patient database to better understand the myriad factors that influence why some patients develop serious complications after surgery while others don't" (Wenner Melinda). Quinones truly shows his passion for helping others by going beyond and researching how to better help those in the future. Even though he doesn't have to, and no one asked him to, he still puts in the time in effort to help those in need. Trying to find ways to make sure his patients leave surgery better than ever. Sometimes sacrificing 16 hours of his day only to further his progress. Only because he truly wants to save lives.


The drive and determination that gets results. A good heart and an honest care for the well being of others. Traits that make up true heroes. Quinones has the drive that got him out of Mexico and into Harvard. He is a surgeon who cares for his patients and does everything in his power to help them. He is a truly inspiring man. For not many can face the challenges he faced and emerge so victorious. Not many are as selfless as he. Not many are as deserving of the title hero. A title that Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa has truly earned.

Works Cited

"Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2013. Biography in Context,

Accessed 1 May 2017.


PRIZE FROM SPAIN." States News Service, 8 Apr.2015. Biography in Context, Accessed

1 May 2017.

Wenner, Melinda. "The Brain Defender." Popular Science, Nov. 2007, p. 70. Biography in


Accessed 16 May 2017.

Dreifus, Claudia. "'A patient grants you the gift of trusting you with their lives, and there is no

room for mistakes.'." New York Times, 13 May 2008, p. F2(L). Biography in Context, Accessed


16 May 2017.




Page created on 5/27/2017 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/14/2018 10:06:00 PM

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