Tampa doctor hangs up white coat after more than 60 years of service 

Dr. Emilio Echevarria, 89, is visiting St. Joseph’s Hospital, a place that he knows well. He spent 64 years as a general surgeon at bay area hospitals before retiring from St. Joseph's Hospital earlier this year.

"Enjoyed taking care of people and helping them get better,"  Dr. Echevarria shared.

Born and raised in Tampa, Dr. Echevarria went to Jefferson High School and graduated from Loyola University of Maryland College in 1952. He then went to medical school at the University of Miami.

"I heard from some students from Miami that they were starting a medical school so I applied and was accepted to the first class in September 1952," he said.

After graduating, Dr. Echevarria came home to Tampa. He said he has seen a lot of medical breakthroughs over the years.  

Chief of Surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. Dennis Alfonso said Dr. Echevarria has been a mentor for Bay Area doctors. 

"Can't say that I accomplished being equal to him but always made it a point to try to emulate him and it has worked out," Dr. Alfonso said. 

For Dr. Echevarria, being a surgeon has been a joy. "When you operate on somebody and you help them get well that's what gives you pleasure," he explained. 

Dr. Echevarria has done more than 1000 surgeries during his distinguished career as a dedicated public servant.