René Favaloro’s 96th Birthday – “‘We’ is more important than ‘I.’ In medicine, the advances are always the result of many efforts accumulated over the years,” wrote Dr. René Favaloro, the Argentinian surgeon who introduced coronary artery bypass surgery into clinical practice and is celebrated in today’s Doodle.
Born in the city of La Plata on this day in 1923, René Gerónimo Favaloro spent the first 12 years of his medical career as a country doctor in the farming community of Jacinto Arauz. He built an operating room, trained his own nurses, set up a local blood bank, and educated patients on how to prevent common ailments. The experience left him with a lifelong conviction that healthcare was a basic human right, regardless of economic circumstances.
In 1962, he traveled to the United States to practice at the Cleveland Clinic, where he worked alongside Mason Sones, a pioneer of cineangiography—the reading and interpreting of coronary and ventricular images. After studying angiograms in the Sones Library, Dr. Favalaro was convinced that coronary artery bypass grafting could be an effective therapy.
On May 9th, 1967, Dr. Favaloro operated on a 51-year-old woman with a blockage in her right coronary artery. Attaching her to a heart-lung machine, he stopped her heart and used a vein from her leg to redirect blood flow around the blockage. The historic operation was a success, and since then, the procedure has saved countless lives during the past half-century.
Returning to Argentina in the early 1970s, Dr. Favaloro established the Favalaro Foundation in Buenos Aires. The center serves patients based on their medical needs rather than their ability to pay and teaches Dr. Favaloro’s innovative techniques to doctors all over Latin America.
Discover the personal story of René Favaloro on Google Arts & Culture – from years of rural medicine to pioneering the heart bypass. In partnership with The Favaloro Foundation.
Early concepts by artist Lydia Nichols
You can find more about René Favaloro’s 96th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page