Mr. President, it is my privilege to present to you Prof. J. Octavio Ruiz Speare of Mexico City, Mexico, for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Professor Ruiz was born in Real del Monte, Hidalgo, Mexico. He obtained his medical training in the Military School of Medicine and completed his residency in general surgery at the Central Military Hospital in Mexico City. He continued his surgical education here in the U.S. at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he completed a residency in general surgery and a transplant fellowship. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in science in experimental surgery, also from the University of Minnesota.
The son of a silver miner, Professor Ruiz grew up in a small mining town that was well-known for its silver production. He and his family moved to Mexico City, and at age 17, he joined the army and embarked upon a military medical career that culminated in his current rank as general. His military experiences sparked his professional interest in trauma, so he came to the U.S. and became an Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®) instructor. Shortly following his return to Mexico, a devastating earthquake prompted Dr. Ruiz to dedicate himself to improving trauma care in Mexico. Since 1986, he has been in charge of the ATLS program in Mexico, which has trained more than 1,000 instructors and 45,000 students.
He has also served as the chief of transplant surgery and chair of the department of education at the Military Hospital in Mexico. He was next appointed as director of the hospital and chief of medical services for the Presidential General Staff.
Professor Ruiz is an excellent technical surgeon. He is the pioneer of transplant surgery in Mexico, where he introduced this concept in 1973. He has performed the largest personal series of kidney transplantations in Mexico, transplanting more than 2,000 kidneys. He is also the pioneer of laparoscopic surgery in Mexico.
He has served as the personal surgeon for two presidents of Mexico and was the attaché for President Clinton and Pope Paul II. Professor Ruiz is married to his wonderful wife, Olga. They have three children and six grandchildren. His daughter Gabriella has considerable interest in exquisite Mexican silver jewelry.
He has published extensively on trauma, surgical infections, and organ transplantation. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Advanced Trauma Life Support Meritorious Service Award and the Trauma Achievement Award presented by the ACS Committee on Trauma.
It is a pleasure to present Prof. Octavio Ruiz—father, husband, compassionate surgeon, excellent technical surgeon, and a role model for future surgeons for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons.