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

Here Are 15 Times That Google Paid Tribute To Latinx Culture With The Google Doodle

Culture

Here Are 15 Times That Google Paid Tribute To Latinx Culture With The Google Doodle

Google

September 22nd marks Doodle Day — yes, it’s a thing! Since 2004 Doodle Day has helped raise funds for epilepsy research. “The tagline ‘Drawing a line through epilepsy’ heads the campaign, and participants take part by submitting their doodle, along with a small donation. The Doodle Day team then judges the doodles and awards prizes accordingly,” according to Days Of The Year

There aren’t many doodles with as much reach as Google doodles, which serve as way to educate and inform people all over the world about global history. Of course, Latinxs have been contributing to arts, science, and culture for centuries. 

Check out these 15 Google Doodles that honor Latinx culture and history. 

Mercedes Sosa

Born in 1936, Argentinian singer Mercedes Sosa was known for being the “voice of the voiceless ones.” Nicknamed “La Negra” her social justice lyrics and traditional folk music allowed her to perform at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum in Rome.

Chile’s National Day

The country’s official flag since 1817 commemorates a multiday celebration known as Las Fiestas Patrias to honor Chile’s eight-year struggle for self-determination from Spanish colonial rule. 

Lupicínio Rodrigues

Lupicínio Rodrigues was born in 1914 in Brazil, today his name is “synonymous with the musical genre samba-canção, also known as samba triste or ‘sad samba.’”

Ynés Mexía

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Mexican American botanist and explorer Ynes Mexia received this tribute. In 1925, Mexía traveled to Sinaloa, Mexico to find rare botanical species. On the trip, she fell off a cliff, fractured her hand and ribs, and still managed to return home with 500 species, 50 of which were undiscovered. 

Tin Tan

The actor, singer, and comedian Tin Tan was born in Mexico City in 1915. Tin Tan helped to popularize pachuco culture with films like The Jungle Book and The Aristocats.

Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar

Born in Pamplona, Colombia in 1922, Villamizar was an innovative painter and sculptor. After traveling to Paris and New York in the 1950s to much acclaim, he became a pioneer of abstract Colombian art. 

Ignacio Anaya García

Ignacio Anaya García’ was born in 1895. In 1943, García invented nachos. What more needs to be said about the magnitude of his culinary contributions? Nachos! 

Arantza Peña Popo  

Afro-Columbian artist Arantza Peña Popo made history when she won Google’s “Doodle For Google” contest in 2019. The art entitled “Once you get it, give it back” features two generations of Afro-Latinx mothers and daughters.

Dr. Matilde Montoya

The first female physician in Mexico, born in 1859, Dr. Matilde Montoya petitioned President Porfirio Díaz to be allowed into medical school. Dr. Montoya had already earned her degree as a midwife at 16, but she wanted more. Dr. Montoya paid her success forward. After her application was accepted, she demanded the House of Representatives to change the rules and permanently allow female students into the School of Medicine.

Lucha Reyes

Born into poverty in 1936, Peruvian singer Lucha Reyes beat the odds by becoming one of the country’s most adored singers. Reyes helped to popularize the Afro-Peruvian genre of music música criolla which blended Creole, Afro-Peruvian, and Andean musical traditions.

Evangelina Elizondo

Mexican actress Evangelina Elizondo was born in 1929. She would become a star of Mexican Cinema’s Golden Age. Fun fact: this Google doodle was created by the Mexican guest artist Valeria Alvarez. 

Abraham Valdelomar

Writer and caricaturist Abraham Valdelomar was born in 1888 in Peru. A humorous prodigy, Valdelomar is remembered for his cuentos criollos. In 1916, he founded the literary magazine Colónida, which helped Peruvians discovered fresh literary talent like José María Eguren.

Raúl Soldi  

Argentinian artist Raúl Soldi was born in Buenos Aires in 1905. Soldi was a painter, costume designer, and even did department store windows.

“Recognized in his country and globally, a 1992 retrospective at Argentina’s Palais de Glace attracted some 500,000 visitors and his work was honored with an award at the 1958 Biennale of São Paulo, Brazil.”

Simón Rodríguez  

Venezuela’s Simón Rodríguez devoted his life to educating others. A scholar, philosopher, and teacher born in Caracas in 1771, he would prove to be a precocious student. As a teacher, among his students Simón Bolivar, he proposed creating well-funded, well-trained schools that included students of all ethnicities and social backgrounds. 

Mexican Independence Day

Mexican guest artist Dia Pacheco created this Google doodle to commemorate Mexico’s Independence Day. Inspired by indigenous Mexican crafts and textiles like Oaxacan embroidery and children’s toys, the animated rehiletes are a beautiful homage.

The Venezuelan Government Has Stopped Buying HIV And AIDS Medication

Things That Matter

The Venezuelan Government Has Stopped Buying HIV And AIDS Medication

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While the international news about Venezuela may have subsided just a tiny bit, make no mistake that the crisis is still very alive. The difference now is that Venezuelans are not only protesting President Nicolás Maduro, but also President Donald Trump. For years, Venezuelans have pleaded that they’re in dire need of food and other essentials, but it’s as if no one seems to care. Trump has now imposed more economic sanctions on Venezuela, though it may be all smoke and mirrors. The reality is people want Maduro out, and they want to be able to survive there too. Most low-income people have to travel to Colombia in order to get essentials that they cannot get back home. But now the most vulnerable are paying the price.

The health care system of Venezuela has stopped purchasing HIV and AIDS medication, which means an estimated 7,700 Venezuelans that are living with the disease are facing a significant emergency.

Credit: @cmternes / Twitter

A new report in Foreign Policy informs that due to the dire situation in Venezuela, their healthcare system has been unable to purchase HIV/AIDS medication. This is putting thousands of people infected at risk. The turmoil of the country’s healthcare is the result of the corruption that has plagued Venezuela since former President Hugo Chávez was in charge. It’s even worse now under Maduro.

“As a result, the country’s medical system is severely under-resourced, FP reports. “Government funding for medical care has been slashed, more than half the country’s doctors have fled Venezuela, and drastic shortages in medical equipment have hampered the ability of hospitals to provide even basic treatment for their patients.”

People with HIV or AIDS are not the only ones suffering from this downturn in medical supplies; others, including children, need basic vaccines as well. 

Credit: @PattyLayla / Twitter

Marisol Ramírez is a 56-year-old Venezuelan who travels to Colombia not just for medication but also for food. She said she sometimes has to decide between food or medicine because it is too expensive to get both. Many others are in the same position. 

Just last month, they gave me enough [antiretroviral drugs] for three months, because due to the situation in the country, we can’t be going up and down to get here. The price of [bus] tickets are incredibly high, and we can’t be coming down here every month,” Marisol Ramírez told Foreign Policy.

There is some hope. The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) are reportedly going to send 12,000 doses of HIV/AIDS medication, but there are still several issues. 

Credit: @ReuterVZLA / Twitter

“When I was there I actually signed a letter of intent with the minister of health Juan Pablo Uribe for the United States to be providing HIV antiretrovirals to Colombia for the use with Venezuelan refugees,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar told Reuters. Azar also said there’s a plan in place to rebuild the healthcare system once Maduro is out, but who knows when that will be. 

“If you don’t have any money … or you don’t support the current government you don’t have anything,” a Venezuelan man told the Washington Blade. “It is, unfortunately, very sad.”

Some may assume that because HIV and AIDS are treatable that it’s not a problem like it was in previous years. However, people are only surviving this terrible illness because of medication, so, without it, people are likely to die. 

Credit: @PeterTatchell / Twitter

Jesus Aguais, founder of Aid for AIDS, an international organization, said that 80 percent of Venezuelans “with HIV who should be on treatment are not,” and added, “That’s terrible from a public health perspective. Not only are people going to get sicker, but HIV is going to spread faster.”

He also said another vulnerable group that is suffering from this disease that is not getting the help they deserve is the indigenous Warao community. He noted that HIV and AIDS are affecting them, and if they don’t get the proper medication, the community as a whole may be completely wiped out.

READ: The Crisis In Venezuela Is Worsening. Here’s What You Should Know Right Now