Culture

This Argentine Doctor Saved Millions Of Lives With A Groundbreaking Surgery And Now He Has His Own Google Doodle

Google has become well known for it’s regularly tributed to some of the most famed people in history. Unsurprisingly, Latinos make up a massive bundle of Google’s over 900 doodles.

And today, Google is honoring an Argentine doctor who contributed one of the most commonly used medical procedures to the world – saving millions of lives in the process.

The legacy of Argentine surgeon Rene Favaloro is being remembered by a Google Doodle today on what would have been his 96th birthday.

Credit: @CleClinicNews / Twitter

René Favaloro, a pioneering Argentine heart surgeon, is being remembered with a Google Doodle for his contributions to coronary bypass surgery on what would have been his 96th birthday.

Born in La Plata, Argentina, in 1923, Favaloro started his career as a doctor in the farming community of Jacinto Arauz, where he built his own operating room, trained nurses and set up a local blood bank.

In 1962 he moved to the United States where he pioneered coronary bypass surgery, a technique used to restore blood flow to the heart when the vessel supplying it is blocked.

René Favaloro was a pioneer in cardiac surgery and his discovery has saved countless lives.

Credit: @American_Heart / Twitter

Favaloro developed a method using a vein from the leg, implanting it to bypass the blockage in the coronary artery. He performed the first operation of this kind on a 51 year-old woman at the Cleveland Clinic in 1967. The historic operation was a success and the procedure has saved countless lives since then.

Today, coronary artery bypass surgery is one of the most common operations. Doctors performed 213,700 in the U.S. in 2011.

But who was René Favaloro?

Credit: @newscientist / Twitter

Rene Favaloro was born in 1923 in La Plata, Argentina and went on to earn a degree in medicine from the National University of La Plata in 1948.

He worked as a doctor in his home country for a time before moving to the US to study thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the Cleveland Clinic

Favaloro returned to Argentina in 1972, where he would later found his own medical institution, the Favaloro Foundation.

While Favaloro himself was reluctant to be known as the “father” of coronary bypass surgery, his work played a fundamental role in introducing the procedure into the clinical arena.

Of his legacy, Favaloro wrote: “’We’ is more important than ‘I.’ In medicine, the advances are always the result of many efforts accumulated over the years.”

Today, the Favaloro Foundation serves patients based on their medical needs rather than their ability to pay and tecaches Dr Favaloro’s innovative techniques to doctors all over Latin America.

Sadly, his clinic pushed him into debt and he took his own life in 2000.

Credit: @Bravp_MD / Twitter

He took his own life on July 29, 2000 at the age of 77. The day before his death he sent a letter to then-Argentine President Fernando de la Rúa (who died three days ago) asking him for help to secure funding for his foundation, which had become mired in debt as a result of a national economic crisis.

Many took to Twitter to share in their Argentine pride.

Credit: @CleClinicNews / Twitter

Many were excited to see such an important Argentine figure getting global recognition for this contributions to the world.

While other doctors expressed how much they owe to Dr. Favaloro.

Credit: @TIME / Twitter

Without the work of Dr. Favaloro, many doctors pointed out that we could be living in a world where there are a lot more preventable deaths because of heart disease.

READ: 25 Times Latinos Have Graced The Google Doodle

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

Things That Matter

Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress via Getty Images

Argentina has long been a progressive bastion in Latin America. It was one of the first countries in the region to allow same-sex marriage and also has anti-discrimination laws in many cities. It’s also been a beacon of hope for the transgender community, with the government long allowing individuals to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex.

However, transgender workers still face immense discrimination and that has left a reported 95% of the community without formal employment. To help try and address this issue, the nation’s leaders have instituted a program to ensure that at least 1% of the workforce is made up of trans workers. It’s an ambitious task but the government is already making progress.

Argentina launched a program to ensure better transgender representation in the workforce.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández signed a decree in September establishing a 1 percent employment quota for transgender people in the public sector. The law went into effect on January 1 and its aim is to bring more trans workers into the formal economy.

According to Argentina’s LGBTQ community, 95 percent of transgender people do not have formal employment, with many forced to work in the sex industry where they face violence.

“If all the institutions implemented the trans quota, it would change a lot for many of my colleagues. It would change the quality of their lives and they would not die at 34, or 40, which is their life expectancy today,” Angeles Rojas, who recently landed a job at a national bank, told NBC News.

There are no official figures on the size of the transgender community in Argentina, since it was not included in the last 2010 census. But LGBTQ organizations estimate there are 12,000 to 13,000 transgender adults in Argentina, which has a population topping 44 million.

Few countries in the world are stepping up to help trans workers quite like Argentina.

Argentina has long prided itself on its progressive policies. The nation was one of the first in the Americas to recognize same-sex unions and several cities have anti-discrimination laws aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community.

In 2012, Argentina adopted an unprecedented gender identity law allowing transgender people to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex. The law also guarantees free access to sex-reassignment surgeries and hormonal treatments without prior legal or medical consent.

Worldwide, only neighboring Uruguay has a comparable quota law promoting the labor inclusion of transgender people. And a law such as this one has the potential to greatly impact the lives of transgendered Argentinians.

Despite the program, transgender people still face enormous challenges in Argentina.

A recent report by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People published in December said “the vast majority of trans women in the region have sex work as their sole economic and subsistence livelihood.”

It goes on to say: In Latin America and the Caribbean transgender people have their right to work violated along with all their human rights, and this takes place “in a context of extreme violence.”

Despite legal protections, Argentina’s trans community remains at risk. Many of the country’s trans citizens live in the Gondolín, a building in the Buenos Aires’ Palermo neighborhood, for protection and strength in numbers.

There have been advances in Argentina. This year, Diana Zurco became the first transgender presenter of Argentine television news, Mara Gómez was authorized by the Argentine Football Association to play in the professional women’s league and soprano María Castillo de Lima was the first transgender artist to go on stage at Teatro Colón.

However, the gap between the equality established by law and the real one remains large, warned Ese Montenegro, a male transgender activist hired as an adviser to the Chamber of Deputies’ women’s and diversity commission.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Watch the Stunning Video of the Total Eclipse that Plunged Argentina and Chile Into Darkness

Things That Matter

Watch the Stunning Video of the Total Eclipse that Plunged Argentina and Chile Into Darkness

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of observers gathered in parts of Chile and Argentina on Monday to witness a rare and stunning total solar eclipse. The natural phenomenon is the second solar eclipse to be visible in Chile in the last 18 months.

Because of the perfect timing this time around, this year’s eclipse was especially breathtaking.

The sky got especially dark this year because this eclipse occurred both during the summer in the Southern Hemisphere and closer to the middle of the day. The sun was higher in the sky, making the change from lightness to darkness especially stark.

A solar eclipse happens when the earth, the moon and the sun are in total alignment. It’s a phenomenon that is actually rare in most solar systems. Our solar system is unique in that our moon is the perfect size to be able to block out the sun.

Thousands of people traveled hundreds of miles, some even camping out over night to get the chance to observe the rare phenomenon. The biggest crowds gathered in the Araucanía region 500 miles south of Santiago, Chile’s capital. The gatherers were wearing face masks and special protective glasses so they could watch the eclipse without damaging their eyes.

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

The solar eclipse had special significance for the Mapuche indigenous community in Chile.

“In Mapuche culture the eclipse has different meanings — they talk about ‘Lan Antu’, like the death of the sun and the conflict between the moon and the sun,” said Estela Nahuelpan, a leader in the indigenous Mateo Nahuelpan community, to the Agence France-Presse (AFP). “It refers to the necessary balance that has to exist in nature.”

In Mapuche legend, during a solar eclipse, the the sun temporarily dies when it battles against an unknown evil force known as “Wekufu”. Indigenous expert Juan Nanculef told the AFP that the Mapuche people used to light bonfires and throw stones and arrows into the sky to help the sun in its fight against Wekufu.

In days past, the Mapuche community would consider an eclipse like this a bad omen. There is still a bit of superstition that lingers around the phenomenon. A man named Diego Ancalao, who is a member of the Mapuche community, told CBS News that the last solar eclipse in 2019 was followed by civil unrest in Chile as well as a global pandemic.

Here’s to hoping that this eclipse is a sign of all of the good times ahead!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com