University of South Florida

Grateful Patient series: Dr. Siviero Agazzi and Joel Lopez


After years of nagging headaches, Tampa resident Joel Lopez in 2008 was diagnosed with a benign meningioma brain tumor. The 59-year-old artist, with clients like the comic book giant Marvel, came under the care of USF Health Neurosurgeon Dr. Siviero Agazzi. Magnetic resonance imaging scans showed the tumor at the base of Mr. Lopez’s skull to be about the size of a baseball. Dr. Agazzi successfully treated the tumor, allowing Mr. Lopez to continue his love of art. In fact, in appreciation of Dr. Siviero’s efforts, Mr. Lopez tapped into his comic drawing talent and presented Dr. Siviero with several pieces of art comparing the neurosurgeon to famous Marvel neurosurgeon-turned-superhero Doctor Strange. He continues to see Dr. Agazzi as a larger-than-life force in his life.

“My family, we love Agazzi,” Mr. Lopez said. “I kept telling myself, when I do a character for The Avengers I trust the hero I’m creating. To me, anything Agazzi tells me, I go for it.”

The artwork created by Joel Lopez to thank USF Health neurosurgeon Dr. Siviero Agazzi for being his doctor.

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