Bye-pass!

Dr. Tiny Nair

Dexterity of human hand of a right handed person depends on the left cerebral hemisphere. The right ‘non-dominant’ hemisphere, once thought to be of little use, is now known to be associated with out-of-the-box thinking. Fortunately, God gives us little of both; for most of us.

The young medical graduate from Argentina, Rene Geronimo Favaloro, travelled to USA, to join the prestigious ‘Cleveland Clinic’ to train himself in the department of cardiac surgery. To his dismay, he found that patients of heart disease with severely ‘blocked’ arteries, not amenable to medicines, continue to suffer form persistent chest pain, with no respite.

Why not surgically bypass the blocks? he thought.

Rene Geronimo Favaloro

But those days, surgical bypass of those blocks were not possible because no conduit (tube) worth the name was available that could be surgically connected and ensure that it would remain patent (open) in the long run.

But ‘bright’ Favaloro took up the challenge. His out-of-the-box thinking prompted him to nurture an idea to take out (harvest) the veins in the legs (saphenous vein) and use them for bypass. Initial skepticism was followed by acceptance as few case trials succeeded; and by 1970, people realized that the idea was a real ‘disruptive technology’ that would change the future of cardiovascular surgery. And it did.

Over the next few decades, thousands of patients were treated by bypass surgery who were non-responsive to medicines.

Fame and name, awards and accolades followed and Favaloro became famous. He received invitation for lectures from all over the world; and an offer to be in the faculty at the Cleveland Clinic itself.

But Favaloro did something that only he could do; he refused, and decided to go back to Buenos Aires and set up a heart hospital for the poor.

The Favaloro foundation became one of the most prominent Heart Hospitals  in Argentina, treating and caring for hundreds of patients, many at subsidized rates and some totally free. Appreciations came from all over, but appreciations don’t cover surgical costs.

Debts started mounting, on top of debts. Suppliers of drugs and devices became more demanding; Favaloro had to face them all; alone.

The downward economic spiral was fast tumbling into a black hole.

Favaloro asked for help from everyone, including the political bigwigs but nothing substantial came forward.

On July 29 th 2000 Favaloro placed a gun on his temple and pulled the trigger. One shot solved everything but shattered the dream of a genius surgeon.

Favaloro was one of those who had a combination of dexterity and out-of-the-box thinking; at a ratio incompatible with our scam riddled, corrupt society.

Sending him to earth was a mistake; God quickly called him back when the discrepancy was made out.

(Dr. Tiny Nair, MD, DM, FACC, FRCP(E) is Head, Dept. of Cardiology, PRS Hospital, Kerala and he can be reached at tinynair@gmail.com )

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Indialivetoday and Indialivetoday does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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