Meet Dr. Fernandez
Hugo Fernandez, MD
Moffitt Medical Oncologist/Hematologist
Moffitt Physician of the Year 2013
In a place as prestigious as Moffitt Cancer Center, being named Physician of the Year is quite an achievement. Dr. Fernandez is humbled to have earned the recognition, surrounded by so many brilliant colleagues he respects and admires.
He and his team specialize in blood and bone marrow transplantation, treating leukemia and other blood-related disorders. In his ten years at Moffitt, the number of transplantations has doubled and Moffitt has become one of the country’s top five transplant centers.
But accolades have never been what drive or inspire Dr. Fernandez. He came to Moffitt wanting to help build a program that had ambitious goals: Curing more patients. Reducing relapse rates. Moving cancer treatment forward. And then, a few years later, he got a call that made it all intensely personal.
His niece was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a rare cancer that can only be cured through transplantation. He convinced her to come up to Moffitt “because we have the best doctors over here,” he recalls. After high doses of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, amazing news. “She’s cured of her disease,” Dr. Fernandez beams. “She’s able to live her life the way she wants to.”
He notes that in the early days of transplantation, the cure rate wasn’t nearly as good. As he explains, “The survival rates have gone up. And side effects have gotten better throughout the years, although we haven’t gotten to a perfect transplantation with no side effects.”
It’s one of the challenges that keeps Dr. Fernandez energized to keep pushing forward. “We don’t sit on our laurels,” he says. “We are going out there and trying to make things better for everybody…really looking to make a difference.”