February is Heart Month! So, it was the perfect time to sit down with Valley Children’s Hospital Biomed II, Auggie Perez, who specializes in heart-related machines working closely with the pulmonary team at the hospital. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What is your role at TKA? Describe what you do day-to-day
A: My role here at Valley Children’s Hospital is a Biomed II. We repair and maintain all medical equipment here at the hospital. Equipment ranges from something as small as an infusion pump to something as large and complex as the heart-lung machine. We repair these machines if they go down and perform regular maintenance on them per the manufacturer’s schedule.
Every day is different based on the needs of the equipment and all team members have their own specialty. For example, I am heart-lung machine certified and I work closely with the Perfusionist here where we troubleshoot any issues closely together. I am also certified in ventilators, contrast injectors and Zoll Defibrillators.
Q: How long have you been with TKA and why did you choose this profession?
A: I’ve been with TKA for 3 years but was a member of Valley Children’s Biomed team for 6 years before that. I’ve been a Biomed going on 15 years total.
I knew I wanted to work in the health care field and growing up, I was always fascinated by people fixing things that were broken – like cars, TVs, radios and computers. I went to college and got a degree in electronics, and after I graduated, I got a job working at a dialysis clinic. That was great, but I always knew I wanted to be in the hospital environment. Eventually, I moved into a Biomed role with an equipment rental company who maintains and repairs equipment and then rents it to hospitals, and that led to a full-time position internally at the hospital.
Q: What are 3 words to describe your team?
A: Hard-working. Caring. Family.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: There are a lot of great things about this job. The best part is knowing that what we do, by maintaining this equipment, can save a person’s life. What we do actually makes a difference in people get better.
Q: What has been your proudest moment working at TKA?
A: All the experience and training that we receive now with TKA have been some of the best moments.
When we were internal to the hospital, we were seeking training, but it was harder to get. The on-going training we’re now receiving has allowed me to grow from a basic level Biomed to the level I am now. I now have specialized training and confidence to work on the heart-lung machine, contrast injector and more. Our team can now service more pieces of equipment, which were previously serviced by separate manufacturer contracts. We are able to fix things faster and save money.
Q: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
A: My family motivates me. I have two young girls, 3 and 5, I want them to grow up knowing that their Dad has been successful in what he’s set out to do. I’m first-generation American, and my parents worked lower-level jobs. They instilled a driving force in me to go to college and do more. I want to show my girls that you can achieve anything if you work hard and put your mind to it.
Q: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
A: I’m a first-generation American and I didn’t know English until I was in 1st grade. I also love photography. I enjoy the process of editing photos and there’s something fun about trying to capture the perfect moment.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, I see success as setting both big and small goals for yourself, and then working really hard to accomplish those goals.