A Miracle Maker: Dr. Victor Li-Pelaez
During the Christmas season, the Catholic Healthcare Guild felt it was important to acknowledge one of our own and to specifically highlight one who shares the charisms of our other Miracle Worker, Saint André Bessette. Certainly, Dr. Victor Li-Pelaez, an Austin plastic surgeon, fits the bill with his exceptional ability to humbly serve his patients.
After graduating from Marquette University School of Medicine in 1956, Dr. Li-Pelaez spent three years at Sinai Hospital, in Baltimore, training in General Surgery. He then completed a 3-year Plastic Surgery residency in San Antonio. After practicing in Peru and in New Jersey, Dr. Li-Pelaez relocated to Austin as a solo-practitioner, where he has been treating patients and colleagues with great dignity since 1971.
Dr. Li-Pelaez finds reconstructive cases, with their potential to restore a patient to his or her original condition, to be the most gratifying. However, his faith contributes greatly to the satisfaction he finds in being a plastic surgeon. Because of this, he approaches each patient with the hope of building two important partnerships: “I explain that he or she has to trust and work with me to achieve the results…[and] frequently, I hint or even invite [the patient] to rely on the Great Healer, and to pray to Him.” Those who have worked with Dr. Li-Pelaez immediately reflect upon his gentleness, decency, and skill and marvel at his willingness to always accept the cases others are disinclined to take.
When asked if he has ever witnessed a miracle, he says “No. No particular one. But every case with good results should be considered a ‘small miracle’ and I thank the Holy Spirit for His guidance.” These words of wisdom perfectly express the proper role of the physician in the healing process and are a great reminder that the “miraculous” can take many forms. Thank you, Dr. Li-Pelaez, for your example and your service to the Austin community.