A heart that will never stop…

by Flavia Visentin

Flavia Visentin is a PhD Candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal in Civil Engineering.

Flavia Visentin is a PhD Candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal in Civil Engineering.

René Favaloro was an Argentinian medicine specialized in cardiac surgery. He became an important figure in medical field in 1967 by performing the first bypass surgery scheduled in Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, Ohio, USA). 

The technique required to stop the heart, take a little part from the patient body (in this particular case was a vein from the leg’s patient) and sewing it into the aorta. This particular technique was a huge discovers on those days and changes not only the life of many people but also the way that heart surgery was done.

“Advances in medicine and bioengineering be considered real achievements for humanity when all people have access to their beneficial and stop being a privilege for minorities.”

Despite his prolific medical career (he wrote several technical books and hundreds of papers) and the valuable contribution to cardiac surgery he always had an enormous commitment to people. During his residence, for example, he came back after class to see the patients even when that was not academically required.

“I never received distinctions in a personal capacity. For me the 'we' was always above the 'I'.

In 1971 when he was at the peak of his career he decides to come back to Argentina with the idea to build a centre as the one in Cleveland. Hence he founded the “Favaloro Foundation” a high level institute to cure and teach. The Foundation's principle is clear everyone has the right to have access no matter what is your economic situation is. By this simple rule many people with no possibility to pay an expensive surgery has survived.

The last considerable economic crisis in Argentina, in 2000, was a disaster for many people included Dr. René Favaloro foundation.  The foundation was bankrupt, with many debts (the largest debtor was the national state itself). Dr. Favaloro begged desperately in order to maintain in operation the centre but not answer arrived. On July 29, tired of fighting, he decided to take his own life to achieve capture attention. I took my life by shutting on my heart...


Flavia telling the moving story of René Favaloro  to her colleagues from Polytechnique School of Montreal during a creativity workshop.

Flavia telling the moving story of René Favaloro  to her colleagues from Polytechnique School of Montreal during a creativity workshop.