Local Profile | Dr. Mario Perez

I was born in Havana, Cuba in 1957, and lived there until I was almost 12. My father was a CPA and my mother was a housewife.

When I was 2 years old Fidel Castro took over and Cuba became a communist society. It was a very repressive regime to live under. Food was rationed, clothes and shoes were not easily accessible, goods and services were very limited. We immigrated to the US in 1968 arriving in Miami, Florida.

From 1966-1971 a deal was brokered through the Red Cross to facilitate immigration for Cubans who already had family living in the US that would sponsor them. My Mom, Dad, Sister and I left Cuba on an old DC9 Prop Plane with 150-200 other passengers on board. After several failed attempts, we were able to finally get my Grandmother over to the US in 1980 through a humanitarian effort. Unfortunately, by that time, she had already gone blind from a very treatable condition, Glaucoma. We attempted to get her treatment here, but we were informed that it was too late.

The experience that I had growing up in Cuba, the repressive nature of the government, the lack of basic human services and the lack of necessities for daily living had an extremely profound impact on all of us, and an even harder impact on anyone that was sick.

In Cuba if you needed a hospital stay, while the hospitalization was free, you had to bring your own bed linens and lightbulb as well any medications that you needed administered to you. Living in these conditions, and witnessing suffering of the sick, struck a profound chord in me once I was older and really understood what it meant to be without. Indubitably, it was a culture shock for us to realize that here goods that you needed were readily accessible to buy, and medical services were available.

Coming from that repressive environment to the US, really made me appreciate the many blessings that we have here in America and not take them for granted.

Our family decided to visit the Uncle that had sponsored us in Atlanta, upon arriving and subsequently ended up staying there. We experienced some of the typical hardships of any immigrant family as we adjusted to a new society and environment, but with perseverance and hard work we started to realize our American dream.

I left Atlanta in 1986 to attend the University of West Florida to pursue my career in marine biology. Upon graduating in 1988 I went to Kailua, Hawaii to train dolphins for the military. It was there that I encountered an osteopathic physician, who was the motivating factor for me in becoming a physician. I had aggravated an old injury, been referred to him, and his treatment was so different, yet proved to be so beneficial to me, that his impact on me was awe inspiring.

In 1992 I entered medical school at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, graduated in 1996, relocated to Corpus Christi to start my residency. In 1998 while still in residency I lost my Dad to heart disease, which was prevalent on his side of the family. This was extremely disheartening, as he brought us to America, which afforded me the freedoms to pursue multiple dreams which ultimately led me into medicine and he died 1 year prior to seeing me obtain my dream of becoming a physician.

In October of 1999 I started my practice in Poteet, Texas  I retired in 2011 and moved to Rockport in January 2012.

I discovered Rockport, when I was invited on a fishing trip by a patient's son. I love to fish, I love the small multifaceted community of Rockport and being on the water. It is very different from other places I have lived, its all inclusive welcoming vibe, and melting pot community of others who have made Rockport their home makes this town very unique.

Fishing is my therapy. When I get out on the water I don't have to contend with anything, I can simply relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and habitats that are a treasure to our area.

Another one of my passions is medicine. I truly believe that people entrust me with the most precious possession they have which is their health. I want patients to understand that they need to be an integral part of their care. You don't check responsibility at the door when you come to see me. I see this as a contract, I promise the patients that I'm going to do the best that I can to ensure that they obtain optimal health. Yet I want them to understand that they must do their best in return.

Since moving to Rockport, my frequent encounters with people in general as well as medical professionals who were persistently requesting both medical attention and services from me, led me back into medicine with some locum tenens and a part time practice. Most recently, I have partnered with Dr. Chistopher Lucci and we have opened a new practice.

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