Join us today for the Interview with Dr. Salvatore Forina, author of The American Doctor...
This is the interview I had with doctor and author, Dr. Salvatore Forina.
In today’s podcast episode I interview Dr. Salvatore Forcina. Dr. Salvatore shares with you how he learned as a multi-country immigrant to stay focused even when things are not going well. Dr. Salvatore also shares how he captured his journey and what it means for you in his book. I also as Dr. Salvatore about his journey and faith.
Join in on the Chat below.
Episode 1328: Interview with Salvatore Forina author of The American Doctor
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1,328 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.
[00:00:07] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and to utilize your focus and determination to leave out your calling. Having that ability is one that I inspire myself to follow.
[00:00:27] Another camp perhaps gain the inspiration, but listen to the Inspired Stewardship podcast with my friend Scott,
[00:00:46] and coming from the war. Psychological. So the only hope that she had was waiting for a letter that came from Italy once in a while for her, for her family. And I remember we [00:01:00] used to play in the kit in the street with the other children.
[00:01:04] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.
[00:01:09] If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.
[00:01:38] In today's podcast episode I interview Dr. Salvador Forcina. Dr. Salvador shares with you how he learned as a multi-country immigrant to stay focused even when things were not going well. Dr. Salvador also shares how he's captured his journey and what it means for you and shares it in his book. And I also ask Dr.
[00:01:58] Salvador about his [00:02:00] journey and his faith. One reason I like to bring you great interviews like the one you're gonna hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. But if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read, and that's why today's podcast is brought to you by Audible.
[00:02:22] Go to inspired stewardship.com/audible to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from, and instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there. That's inspired stewardship.com/audible to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast.
[00:02:50] Born in Italy during World War ii, Dr. Salvador fort's early years were spent in poverty before his family immigrated to Argentina. Once [00:03:00] there, he was sent away to live with an order of receptionist, priest, as they were the only avenue for education. Eventually, he completed medical school and immigrated to the United States where he became the chief of surgery at two major hospitals.
[00:03:13] Recently, he's published The American Doctor about his journey from poverty to success in medicine. Welcome to the show, Dr. Forcina. Doing
[00:03:21] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: very well. Thank you.
[00:03:23] Scott Maderer: Awesome. It's great to have you on. And I talked a little bit in the intro and shared a little bit about the book that you've released and a little bit about your history and your journey.
[00:03:35] But can you talk a little bit more about what brought you to write this book? What was your background and why did you decide to put this book out into the world?
[00:03:46] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: When I started my private practice, We were young with my wife and we used to be invited to different houses, different events and those events.
[00:03:58] You had [00:04:00] adopters, lawyers, common people neighbors, politician, you name it. So what happened? What happened was that then in more than one occasion, as you start to get familiar, start to talk about They ask about your background because you know somebody, you are a doctor now, you're a chief for surgery in two hospital.
[00:04:24] How you came from a, from the other part of the world, how you end up accomplish such a thing here. You have to have some connection. You have to whatever people. And I said no. I said my humble beginning with I start without nothing. I have to start without books and how my, I was born in Italy between Roman Napal and during World War two.
[00:04:52] And everything. The area where my parents live was the area close to Monte Casino. The German were in the north [00:05:00] and the allies were in the south and in between there was a battlefield. The no man, land mines, and the destruction and misery all over. So what happened? It was in more than one occasion, somebody say you have accomplished something that not too many people will accomplish, and so you should write this memoir or whatever.
[00:05:29] And it never came to my mind that day I was going to write a book. Okay, but you know what? When I retire and I start to remember when my parents die eventually, and I start to have the memory how we started and then what we had to suffer in Argentina, how it's hard to start in this control over again for nothing.
[00:05:58] I start to get [00:06:00] sentimental. I start to Something was motivating me inside me and what the, cause the push that I got was my granddaughter was born Lena. Now she's going to be next month, eight years old. And I say, you know what? When I say she's a was around the house just a few weeks ago here, came to visit us with my daughter and I say I want to leave a legacy, like my father left the memory for me, the si, he was a simple man, but he left something I want to live to my granddaughter.
[00:06:46] Something that she can be proud and perhaps maybe when she's a teenager and is going through the tough time. Because that's what life is about, and you have to make a decision. [00:07:00] Perhaps maybe one night in her solitude she can pick it up this book and open up one page and say, wow, that was my grandpa.
[00:07:10] Look what he had done and maybe I can for her, plus if I can help. Anybody that is in the moment of the pressure or they need the a word or comfort, whatever. Okay. If this book can bring that to that person, I will be the happiest person as world.
[00:07:38] Scott Maderer: So I want to call out cuz you, you skipped a little bit in your journey there you went.
[00:07:43] You mentioned you were in Italy and then you mentioned off-handedly in Argentina. Yeah. Flew fine. It's connect the dots for folks. How did you go from Italy and World War II to Argentina and then on to [00:08:00] America where you became, okay. The title of the book is The American Doctor, so there's
[00:08:04] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: a, yeah.
[00:08:06] We're going to connect the dot. Yeah. So what happened was my father was a worker. And he worked in the ceramic in SCO in Italy. And after the war, everything was destroyed. There were no jobs there was missing in there. So it happened that this factory. Was moving to arg, move a branch to open a branch in Argentina, and so the offer to maybe five 50 or 60 workers, specialized worker, carpenter, brickley, air, you name mechanics, and opportunity to go there.
[00:08:43] Spend two years there. And if they, eventually they want to settle there, they could settle there. So my father took the opportunity and went to Argentina. There was, this was in 1947, of course Argentina was very fertile source, [00:09:00] like Texas rich and and there was no war. My father had developed a war, a psych of the war because during the war, he lost his brother.
[00:09:13] He lost his brother-in-law his father for many months. He had disappeared and the family didn't know if he was alive or dead or because the German, they were. Taken those men and sent them to German as prisoner work to work on their factories. So anyhow, so we went to Argentina and then Argentina.
[00:09:38] I spent 20 years Argentina. At that time we were the really immigrant without nothing. No, you were in your own. My poor mother was around 30 years old, had me and my brother. I was eight years old. My brother was maybe under two. Alright. And we were living in the outskirt [00:10:00] of the city. And and we, my father was all the time.
[00:10:07] He, like I said, before he was working, he had a second, third degree schooling like my mother, because that time the family were, they were large and they had to work. Even the children, they had to take the animal to the mountain to. That's what life, there was a lot of mystery, poverty. And then so those kids, they had to grow up fast.
[00:10:34] And then so what happened was that the, in Argentina was I remember episode of my poor mother, the, at that time, 80 years ago, whatever, you had to realize that there are no telephone for us, no tv, no radio. There was nothing. So my poor mother didn't speak Spanish and the customer different.
[00:10:57] They didn't have any friends and coming [00:11:00] from the war psychologically, so they only hope that she had, was waiting for a letter. That came from Italy once in a while for her family. And I remember we used to play in the kids in the street with the other children kicking the ball. We made a ball with a sock, put some cloth inside, and that round ball, we kicked that ball and there were no asphalt, there was old dirt dusty place.
[00:11:28] And we kicked the ball until the ball became like a sausage again. And so I, my mother once in a while used to come out and say, ask me if the mailman had delivered any letter for that day. And I didn't understand the meaning. And so my, she was so anxious to get, once in a while when she got a letter, she read the letter and reread a letter.
[00:11:54] It's like a, there was something there that she. [00:12:00] Nobody could understand. So that's, that, that psychological thing really persisted my mind all my life. So as you spent that time in Argentina Was, were you going to school? Was it you were an immigrant and with your family there, or how did your education, you, you obviously became a doctor later, so how did that play out in your time in Argentina?
[00:12:32] What happened was, like I say before my father, Have almost an obsession for me to study. I was eight years old. I didn't want to study at that age. And I you're a child and so what happened was one day it happened not too far away, a few blocks away from my parents' house.
[00:12:54] This priest came to preach. And I was talking to one of [00:13:00] the priests and he was showing me some picture of the whole, the small pony. The kids swimming in the river and playing soccer and having a good time. And to me, this was a different world. So I told my father I would like to go to this place.
[00:13:19] So my father, of course, saw the opportunity and jump. And then, so I was 11 years old. I sep I was separated from my mother for when I was 11 years old. And that was a boarding school. I saw my parents once a year. So that also psychologically affected me very much. Of course, I was not prepared for the discipline in this place because this place was you had to pray a lot and you had to study a lot.
[00:13:54] And the two things that I hate, so I the first year I [00:14:00] really have very hard time. And of course I got the psychological discipline and the corporal punishment when they behave at the age of 11 years old, you throw your tantrum. But that was something that made me, when I went there, I will say it was a little wild, but when I left after seven years, I was introverted, I was screaming, I was shy.
[00:14:33] I recall I I was not prepared for the war to face the war. And how did how did your faith journey affect your journey from Italy to Argentina and on to the US and becoming a doctor?
[00:14:50] The, I will say, yeah, my faith Was there, but my faith was more [00:15:00] when I came to United States.
[00:15:02] Because you see, when I was in Argentina, I, my parents couldn't afford to buy books for me. So what happened, my friends in LA University, Plata was in La Plata to Buenos Air and weekend, Friday afternoon, they used to go to Buenos Air. Spend the weekend there, have good time because they were for well lot families.
[00:15:29] My family could afford the books, so imagine they could afford for me to have a good time. Forget it. So that's the time when I lack myself and my room. That was sharing with other, and I borrowed the book. I started make note. And that's the way that they all that, I will mention all that because the desire that my father used to talk to me and he used [00:16:00] to tell me how life was so difficult for them the, during the war.
[00:16:06] And that's why he had to live everybody, their own family, the roots, the, and they migrate to another place. They were the strangers. Okay. And at that time there were no, they don't look at you with good eyes because you, any, another invader. Invader they say very sad, but that's human nature.
[00:16:33] And so anyhow, so I eventually, I went to, when I left this, that school, My grades were not recognized, so I had to take an exam again and I lost another year. So I spent 20 years in the public school, of course was a shock public school. They had the discipline that I had before and I was not prepared. I was a limbo again.
[00:16:57] Here we are first of [00:17:00] all this because you see what happened. The main thing looking back. I didn't have a stewardship. I didn't have a guidance. I didn't have nobody that told me, Sam, do this, don't do that. Nobody. I had to make a many mistakes, and many time I was on my knees, and so that's the point of my faith, and many occasion when I was so down and so depressed.
[00:17:31] I could say that I didn't have any hope. I was like a knife in fact, position and shaking, and I say, God, please gimme a chance. Gimme a chance. Okay. I didn't have a, I was, my life was like a small boat. Been in the middle of the ocean at the mercy of the wind. I didn't see the horizon. I didn't see, I didn't know in which direction to, and that's have been my life.[00:18:00]
[00:18:02] Scott Maderer: You're in a unique position because you were set up in, in a way where it, it seems like if you listen to your story, everything was against you. Making it to America, becoming a doctor, this sort of thing. And I think a lot of times a lot of folks struggle with that idea of feeling like I've got a goal, I've got something I want to do, but it feels like everything's against me.
[00:18:33] Everything's holding me back the world's against me. That kind of feeling. What advice do you have to folks that are feeling that way? They know that there's something that they want to do. They know that they have that goal, but. It feels like everything is holding him back and acting against them.
[00:18:51] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: Okay, so first thing I will desire for that person that is individual. I hope he's a [00:19:00] lucky person to have the parents, but to have some guide as somebody, a coach rabbi, minister, you name it, a priest, whatever. An influenza person that can really. Tell, do this and don't do that. Okay. That's the main thing.
[00:19:21] Second, I think you have to have a little bit of flame inside yourself. You have to have the desire. For instance, I compare myself now to the people that go to university here in United States. People go to university. They had the guidance, they had the gold. When they want to go, there's a. It's all the opposite of me because you see what happened?
[00:19:47] I, you could, you don't even have the minimal chance to set a goal because you live day by day. You just, for instance, [00:20:00] to tell you to comparison, when we were in Argentina University, here in this country, there is one student have one microscope. Over there, there was one microscope and there were like a 30 student for each microscope, and you had to look at the specimen bending over to the instrument, and you couldn't sit down.
[00:20:22] They push you on the other side because that's where, that's the way the, like the, or the fitness, whatever he's say, he say, The opportunity. So that's why what I'm saying, when somebody like in been in this country, they had the opportunity and now today with the internet and the communication and the instant knowledge, you think we didn't have nothing at that time.
[00:20:54] I didn't have nothing. And so if you had [00:21:00] just, like I say, a little bit of motivation, And the desire to succeed, you're going to succeed. It's not going to be easy. Life is not easy, but you have to have the motivation. You have to have something inside yourself and say, okay, fine. Today is a bad moment, but tomorrow's going to be better.
[00:21:19] And that's what they, because the determination had to be there because nothing come easy. That's it. The thing that come easy, they're forgotten right away. So do you think having that determination or having the resilience to keep going when things are setting you back, is that something that we're born with or is that something that you can learn?
[00:21:46] I think it's a combination of thing. Yeah. I put yourself a small child, he's in the kitchen and he know there is a gentle of murmur lake there over [00:22:00] the island. And if he jump and jump, I cannot grab, but keep jumping because he desire, you want to grab that, you want to enjoy the sweetness.
[00:22:14] Alright? And so the stubbornness, there is a stubbornness to try to achieve something, but the stubbornness also had to be coated amalgamate or combined with. You internal values and you desire to succeed. For me, my parents, they couldn't do any gimme anything, but they gave me the desire to get out of the hole.
[00:22:48] My life was like being in a hole and I couldn't see the sun. I was looking up, I saw the sunlight there, but I want to get out of the hole and and see the sun and the [00:23:00] Verizon. That's the difference. So that's why the motivation, the desire, the constant desire I want to be, plus, you know what happened when I was a child, we were discriminated with, and so you felt, first of all, psychologically you other friends you go to my clothes, I have my jacket, but I have one jacket. Compared with the, and so the girls at that age, a teenager girl, they're not looking at you. So you, you are more isolated. So there are, there is so many psychological things that I went through.
[00:23:43] But that made the determination that I want to be somebody I want to succeed, and I hope one day I achieve that. How does gratitude play out in that kind of experience? When you know [00:24:00] it, it would be very easy to be bitter about the way you grew up and angry about it, but I'm hearing a lot of gratitude in your voice too.
[00:24:06] Scott Maderer: Yes. How does gratitude play out for
[00:24:08] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: that? I appreciate that. I appreciate the gratitude because the gratitude, first of all, that I succeeded in mirror the adversity. I succeeded and the best gratitude. I practice surgery. I did. Neurosurgery trauma vascular, and the last 15 year advance laparoscopy.
[00:24:30] When it monitors small hall, you make a small hall and do major surgery. And my gratitude is that the, I was able to help thousands and thousands of people my skill in my determination. I had a gratitude for. Have my parents, I was a lucky guy to have Paris. They were humble, but they had the values for the common sense, [00:25:00] and they believe in me.
[00:25:04] They have the gratitude to this country that allow me to come here and allow to specialize that in the other two country. I didn't get that.
[00:25:17] It just doesn't have a end. To all those people and my patient too. My attitude ratitude my passion that I could help and establish like a family relationship. I've
[00:25:40] Scott Maderer: got a few questions that I like to ask everybody, but before I ask those, is there anything else about the book that you feel is really important for the listener to hear?
[00:25:50] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: I think the book come from the Heart and the book written in a simple way, and it is for everybody [00:26:00] is for the average person there is for a, I am a classic guy. I studied the classic. They all Greek, they all Latin and I was brought up with the culture, the operas and I'm into that. It's a different world.
[00:26:17] And so because of that there is a lot of mentioning in different places about the certain analogy with the opera, where the people live in different area, the type of life they have, how they. The civilization came about, whatever. Okay, so another way they were there is for a very simple person, and it was for the people.
[00:26:43] They want to be motivated. And do the research, whatever, but is something, is there, there is the beginning or the pathway that you have to, if you want to follow, is like the demand comedy. You had to wait for Virgil, then [00:27:00] they had to wait for Virgil to take him around so that he didn't get lost. My brand has inspired stewardship. And you mentioned stewardship earlier when you were answering one of the questions. When you hear that word stewardship, what does it mean to you and how have you seen it in your life?
[00:27:21] I think stewardship is very important. Alright. To me, because my life had been like walking through a tunnel at the end of the tunnel, I saw a di light.
[00:27:37] And that would guide me. But I was walking through a tunnel by myself and I said, approached the light. I was having the hope that I have reached some place, what happened? I arrived to that place. I was exhausted. And when I look some written target [00:28:00] there, say dead end. And that was have been my life.
[00:28:05] I had to go back and forth and back and forth. So
[00:28:09] Scott Maderer: this is my favorite question that I like to ask all of my guests. Imagine for a minute that I invented this magic machine, and I could take you from where you sit today and transport you into the future. Maybe 150, maybe 200 years. And through the power of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life and see all of the connections and all of the ripples you've left behind.
[00:28:36] What impact do you hope you've left behind in the world?
[00:28:39] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: Like my friend used to say, you cannot go through wor this world without turning stones. I remember analogy in which, in Africa, the. Primitive people when the, whatever, how apparently how [00:29:00] were running to some place that they have left their print footprint.
[00:29:08] And now after so many thousands a year, we can analyze how they were. They were small feet, big feet, women, children, whatever. And they were running for some prayer, running, maybe for survival, whatever. So here we are. They left us something behind and that's what life is about. And to leave something behind for somebody else with experience that you have at that time, maybe somebody else can add something more to that and that.
[00:29:45] Because invention that they don't come just for one person or all, it's a combination. It's a follow different path until somebody had the light and say, ah, this is [00:30:00] how the thing can be modified, or whatever. So I hope that the somebody will say, wow 200 years ago. Also there was, there were some people knew everything was roasting.
[00:30:16] They had the tv, they have a car, they have supersonic jet, they have the yacht. But there was also somebody that was struggling. They want to get out of the hole and here we are, have a case. This guy who we dunno who he was. Okay, because he doesn't have a connection. He is no, he is was no politician. He didn't have money, he didn't have nothing.
[00:30:42] And he accomplished something in life. And that's the beauty They showing that anybody, everybody with the desire and the hard work and with prayer, you can accomplish something in
[00:30:59] Scott Maderer: life.[00:31:00]
[00:31:02] So what's coming next for you the rest of this year as you continue on with the book and everything else? What's on your roadmap for the rest of this year?
[00:31:12] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: It happened I had to tell you, I like to bike and I bike 20 miles, three, four times a week. And every other day I walk two and a half miles.
[00:31:30] I came from Good Genes. My father died when he was 99 and a half, and my body was 95. However, just less than 10 days ago, I was biking and I felt uncomfortable. I have it in the stomach epi discomfort. So somebody said I was biking and somebody saw me. I said, are you right? I said, yeah, I think so. They took me home to make a long story short [00:32:00] and up in the hospital, I had to have a different test.
[00:32:03] I had to have catheterization, and I have one major vessel, the coronary vessel that was 99% occluded. Oh, okay. So I was lacking enough that I had the right person there. They gimme the heparin and they did the catheterization. They put a balloon and they put a stand there, and now I'm taking the medication.
[00:32:25] I'm doing well. So say life. Everything is relative. I learned a big lesson because you know what happened? All my life for 40 years, I was from the other side. I took care of people. But now I saw life from this side. The patient side. And believe me that anxiety is a different world. Did
[00:32:59] Scott Maderer: you have to tell [00:33:00] him how to do it?
[00:33:02] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: And you become humble. And you become a humble person because Listen, we are all under the same sky and you cannot tell. You cannot tell. So that's why to me, the people fighting and politic and disagree and they, life is short. My friend life is short. Do the best set example to improve things.
[00:33:34] Scott Maderer: I agree a hundred percent. They, I was a school teacher for years, and school teachers make the absolute worst students, because teachers, if you have to teach teachers, it's always horrible. I'm wondering if doctors make the worst patients. Is
[00:33:47] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: that true?
[00:33:48] Yes. Yeah. That's true. That's true. Let me tell you just a, an editor, what happened was, I remember many when I was younger, many words ago, I was in a. [00:34:00] In New Jersey, in Tnic. We used to live there and I started my practice and I had to prepare for the board of surgery.
[00:34:08] It was a major thing. So what happened? I was in the wintertime and I was studying very hard and drinking coffee. Okay? So what happened is between working and this and that, so in between there was a big tree in front, the oak tree in front of the house, and the leaves were falling down. So with the big ladder one there to get the.
[00:34:30] To clean the gut or whatever. Okay. And then I did a bad movement, whatever, and I'm right-handed. So I hold the ladder with the left hand to make a long story short the, in the shoulder rotator calf. And that bothered me a lot. On and off, on and off. So what happened was that the I was thinking I was going to have a heart attack.
[00:34:53] I had to go to the emergency room but I couldn't have the surgery. [00:35:00] Until many year after because I was doing laparoscopic surgery and I had to move my shoulder and the orthopedic surgeon say, Sal, listen to me. You are a surgeon and you are stubborn like anybody else, even you do 100% what I tell you to do.
[00:35:22] Otherwise you going to come back? I said, Roger, there is no way in hell that I'm going to come back because this, I went through him. Another thing that was experienced. You know what? I retired soon. I retired six months. I took six months for me to, and now I'm fine with the shoulder. But yeah, we were a, we are different breed.
[00:35:45] Yeah, we are different
[00:35:46] Scott Maderer: breed. You can find out more about Dr. Fina over on Facebook as Dr. Salvador Fina or find his book over [00:36:00] on Amazon. Of course, I'll link up to all of that in the show notes as well. Salvador, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:36:08] Dr. Salvatore Forcina: Le I, I hope that. Talking familiar talk like that can be stimulus and a hope for somebody that doesn't have any hope.
[00:36:26] Because the working thing in life is not to believe is an end to the suffering and a possible better future. Because for different circumstances. So I hope that this simple talk had been a plus, opened somebody eyes and maybe reading [00:37:00] some pages of my book that they really, they're all honest truth.
[00:37:07] I believe that. Can be comfort and help for depressed soul.
[00:37:25] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen. But act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes.
[00:37:52] Rate all one word. iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and [00:38:00] review, and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.
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Coming from the war psychologically the only hope that she had was waiting for a letter that came from her family in Italy. – Dr. Salvatore Forcina
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