In Memorial: Dr Rafael Miguel

By Julio Paez, MD    Mar 2, 2018

Dr. Rafael Miguel passed away on February 25, 2018.  As chief of anesthesiology at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and chairman of the department of anesthesiology at the University of South Florida, Dr. Miguel was a larger-than-life figure in the careers of countless anesthesiology and pain medicine professionals. Through his teaching, supervising, and advising, he consistently reminded us of the incredibly high standards to which we would be held during our training and as we progressed throughout our education and our careers. He was a tireless advocate for his residents and fellows and expected self-sufficient, professional caregivers as the outcome of his tutelage. Dr. Miguel was an inspiring natural leader—fair and justand led by example in his deeds and words. He demonstrated how to effectively engage surgeons and operating room personnel and was also a lesson in the good of humanity beyond the operating theater.

Ralph, as he is warmly remembered by so many, had a tireless energy and a kind spirit. A favorite memory that embodies his kindness and humor comes from a number of years ago when he was asked to be a speaker at a pain conference in South America. He graciously accepted, juggled his schedule to accommodate the engagement, and then attempted to organize travel arrangements with the organizers. The conference staffer sheepishly informed Ralph that he would need to cover his own travel expenses. Without missing a beat, Ralph replied, “Well, as long as they feed us and the food is half good, I’ll be okay.” Ralph’s huge smile, quick wit, and gift of storytelling was just part of the huge personality that will be missed both personally and professionally.

Dr. Miguel served as a board member in nearly every state Anesthesiology and Pain Society, as well as a board member of ASA and the Florida Board of Medicine. True to his nature, even during his illness he was an active board member of the Florida Society of Interventional Physicians, attending its most recent annual meeting, during which he was honored for his accomplishments. Dr. Miguel was also influential in shaping the current regulation of opioid prescriptions in the state of Florida, as well as the statutes that govern pain clinics.

Ralph will be missed as a physician and colleague, a mentor and a friend, and of course, as a loving husband and father. His legacy of accomplishments leaves us with a lasting reminder of his brilliant mind, and his students continue to practice his teachings as a testament to the impact one dedicated and driven professional can have on medicine, and the world.