In November last year, one of the highly prestigious National Medals of Technology and Innovation was presented to Thomas J. Fogarty, Fogarty Institute for Innovation, for his innovations in minimally invasive medical devices. U.S. President Obama presided at the ceremony and presented the award.
Dr. Fogarty is chairman, director and founder of the Fogarty Institute for Innovation, and has served as a founder, chairman, or board member of over 30 business and research companies. During the past 40 years, he acquired 135 surgical patents, including the Fogarty balloon catheter and the Aneurx Stent Graft, an endovascular device that replaces open surgery for aortic aneurysm.
Along with the recently awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation, he has received the Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons and the 2000 Lemelson-MIT prize for Invention and Innovation. He was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2001.
Surgeon who saved Pope’s life thanked
Dr. Juan Carlos Parodi today is a prominent figure in the world vascular community, one famous for his work in the development of endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) several decades ago.
But it was an emergency gall bladder operation many years ago, which he performed in his native Argentina, that caused him to rise to a unique prominence, illustrated in a more recent visit to Vatican City, where he had a 40-minute private audience with Pope Francis.
Dr. Parodi explained: “In 1980 I was called to treat a poor priest with a gangrenous cholecystitis caused by Clostridium. I took care of him without charging him, and after days of dialysis he survived. I forgot the experience until one day I received a call telling me that the poor priest I took care of became the Pope Francis. He invited me to visit him in the Vatican, and I went to visit him last year.
“Pope Francis received me saying: Welcome the surgeon who saved my life coming in the middle of the night to do an operation without asking for any compensation! I told him that as a physician we help people who need us, regardless of the lack of payment capacity. I was honored by being invited by him,” Dr. Parodi added.
Currently, Dr. Parodi is a professor of surgery at the University of Buenos Aires, and chief of vascular surgery at the Sanatorio Trinidad, Buenos Aires.