January 01, 2013

Michael Gaies, MD, MPH: Pediatric cardiac ICU physician, father, golfer

Michael Gaies, MD, MPH
What do you do at UMHS?

I am a pediatric cardiac intensive care physician in the Michigan Congenital Heart Center pediatric cardiac ICU at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. My work is heavily influenced by my research interests in the quality and value of care we provide to children with critical cardiovascular disease.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Clinically, I love taking care of children who are very sick but who have great potential to have a long, productive life if we can get them through their recovery. As a researcher I enjoy looking for answers to the questions that come up when I’m taking care of patients particularly, “how can we do this better?” I also like thinking about how we can improve our care in ways that impact the health care economic crisis in our country.

When you’re not working, what do you do?

While I enjoy coming to work and taking care of other people’s children, I most enjoy spending time with my two daughters, Abigail and Taylor. When I’m not in the hospital, the place I’d spend all my time if I could is on the golf course. I’m also into fitness and exercise, and my current passion is Crossfit.

What moment in the hospital stands out as the most memorable?

Every time we transfer a patient out of the ICU who was previously on the brink of death I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction because it takes so many people working together – nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, physicians, and support staff – to make it happen. Those moments are a win for the entire team.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My greatest professional accomplishment has been building from scratch a consortium of pediatric cardiac intensive care units to study quality of care in our field. Personally, I’m most proud of raising two girls who love themselves, are best friends, and think they can accomplish anything.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Be generous, be accountable, and be innovative.

What was the best meal you’ve ever had?

If I could eat one meal for the rest of my life it would be Porterhouse for two, fried potatoes, and creamed spinach at Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn.

Who or what inspires you?

I was inspired to go into medicine, and still am, by the idea of using my opportunities and abilities to make other people’s lives better. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can try to do that every day.