Michael This Emotional Life - PBS

Experts Biography



Dr. Michael Maddaus is a thoracic and foregut surgeon with the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center. He is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery and his clinical experience is focused on lung cancer, esophageal cancer, GERD, esophageal reflux, and gastric cancer.

Michael had a difficult childhood. His mother was an alcoholic and he grew up poor without his biological father. His stepfather was abusive. He was arrested 24 times as a juvenile, abused drugs and alcohol, and was a car thief.

Knowing he would be prosecuted as an adult if he continued his crimes, he enlisted in the Navy. There he began to turn his life around. He started classes and finished his G.E.D. after discharge and attended community college. But he started using drugs and alcohol again.

After crashing his car and sustaining serious injuries, he realized his prospects in life were grim if he continued down the same path. He distanced himself from his trouble-making friends and found a job in a high-end furniture store.  One of the store’s wealthy clients saw potential in Michael and nurtured and mentored him.

Today Michael is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Minnesota. By seizing upon positive people and opportunities, Michael was able to move away from his difficult past and create a successful future.

Michael's Content

My Transformation From High School Drop Out To Surgeon

  • By: Michael
  • The question "how I did it" has come up in my mind many times. Someone who just learned of my past and the obstacles that I had to overcome can trigger it. ...