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

This Man Suffered From A Rare Syndrome That Burns You From The Inside Out, All Because He Had A Reaction To His Anti Depressants

Things That Matter

This Man Suffered From A Rare Syndrome That Burns You From The Inside Out, All Because He Had A Reaction To His Anti Depressants

@RushReads / Twitter

*Warning: Graphic images ahead*

A man’s reaction to anti depressants was so bad, his skin started peeling off his face. The kin on his entire body flaked off, leaving his flesh exposed and at risk of infection. He was diagnosed with a rare syndrome caused by medication that targeted his bi-polar disorder. 

Jonathan Laird, from Greenfield, Indiana, was prescribed lamotrigine in April 2016 to boost his mood after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Within a month of taking the pills, the 38-year-old was suffering flu-like symptoms and his eyes became so sore it felt as through ‘glass was piercing them’.

Laird was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

The symptoms escalated quickly, and he developed red raw sores inside his mouth and lips, as well as on the back of his throat and across his entire body.

Mr Laird was taken to a hospital and was immediately transferred to an intensive care unit where he was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS).

Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare but serious disorder that affects the skin, mucous membrane, genitals and eyes. The mucous membrane is the soft layer of tissue that lines the digestive system from the mouth to the anus, as well as the genital tract (reproductive organs) and eyeballs. Stevens-Johnson syndrome is usually caused by an unpredictable adverse reaction to certain medications. It can also sometimes be caused by an infection —and in Laird’s case, it was a reaction to Lamotrigine.

The syndrome often begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a red or purple rash that spreads and forms blisters. 

The affected skin eventually dies and peels off. Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a medical emergency that requires treatment in hospital, often in intensive care or a burns unit.

The skin on Mr Laird’s face started rotting and flaking off, leaving his flesh exposed and prone to infection. 

Doctors wrapped his face in pig skin grafts, which keep affected wounds sterile before a proper skin graft can be done. They have long been used as a wound dressing in burned patients.

When Mr Laird was admitted to hospital, doctors scrambled to save as much of his healthy skin as they could.

They even stitched his eyes shut for two weeks in a bid to protect his eyeballs because the disorder had made them ultra-sensitive to light. He recalled: ‘My eyes started to feel like they had little pieces of glass in them, it was very uncomfortable, and I was scared to touch them or rub them because it literally felt like I was going to cut my eyes. ‘I thought, “Is this Stevens Johnson Syndrome?”’

‘When you have Stevens Johnson Syndrome you basically burn from the inside out,’ said Jonathan.

‘It starts as a rash and then the rash erupts into blisters. ‘They stitched my eyes shut to protect my vision, they bound my hands together so I couldn’t rip the tube out that was down my throat. ‘I don’t remember much. I fell in and out of consciousness. ‘I felt like I was dreaming all the time, I don’t think I really knew that my eyes were stitched shut. ‘They also put pigskin all over me to prevent infection. ‘They were afraid I was going to get pneumonia at one point, so they had to make sure that everybody who came to see me had gloves on and gowns.’

Jonathan was unable to speak and had to communicate with his family by writing down answers to their questions. 

He said at one point he wrote ‘am I going to die?’ which was hard for everyone to read. After 11 days in ICU, he was transferred to a burns unit and his eyes were unstitched after two weeks. Jonathan was released from the hospital last summer and continues to recover while writing a blog about the condition. He added his hope was to show that those affected by Stevens Johnson Syndrome are not alone. ‘Be brave and you’ll get through this, and the person you’re going to be on the other side of this is a much stronger person,’ he said.

Steven Johnson Syndrome(SJS) affects only one in a million people in the United States, with only 22,000 new cases each year.  

The damage the syndrome causes in just a few short weeks can include(perhaps for the rest of your life) any of the following: Sores in mouth/throat/eyes/skin, several blisters, scars, shedding of skin and internal organs, chronic pain and fatigue, blindness and in some cases death.  There is no way to stop the avalanche of these reactions and in the words of medical professionals “it needs to run its course through the body.”  The treatment does include pain killers, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, steroids, IV’s for hydration and food.  SJS is aggressive, devastating and extremely painful for loved ones to witness.  

Argentina’s Women’s Soccer League Could Have A Trans Player And We Can’t Celebrate Enough

Entertainment

Argentina’s Women’s Soccer League Could Have A Trans Player And We Can’t Celebrate Enough

@Limaype / Twitter

It is no secret that the glass ceiling is an ever-present reality for women in all sorts of environments: in industry, entertainment and of course in professional sports. Sports is a male-centric environment and when it comes to professional leagues, womens’ teams and sports figures are seen as secondary to their hombre counterparts. Now, it is a fact that women are placed at a disadvantage when it comes to salaries and sponsorships in sports, but there is a particular group within the female population that is particularly vulnerable: trans women. Even public figures such as Hillary Clinton and J.K Rowling, who have championed women’s issues, have made unfortunate comments that can be judged as transphobic. The world is still dominated by CIS discourses and trans rights have a long way to go. 

Trans women suffer discrimination and lack of opportunities and any move forward is a significant win. That is why news coming out of Argentina give us hope in a more equal and inclusive future. The country could soon have its first trans woman professional soccer player, subject to the approval by the league. 

Mara Gomez would become the first trans woman to play in Argentina’s female soccer league.

Mara is now 22-years-old and, if approved by the AFA, the reigning body in Argentinian soccer, she will play for for Villa San Carlos, a lower-tier team in Argentina’s top league. Even if her team has not been particularly successful on the field, they have certainly triumphed in terms of their progressive politics.

When she was 15 she was figuring out her gender and sexuality, she felt bullied and alone. Until she kicked a ball and everything changed. As she revealed in Politica y Gestion, she wasn’t particularly good when she started playing but the joy for the game and perseverance helped her cross the line: “I was really bad, but I realized that it was helping me. I could escape a lot of things and it calmed my mind. Fútbol was like therapy. I began to devote more time to it. At 18, everything changed when I began transitioning. I tried out in Toronto City and they accepted me, as I am. They opened their doors and saw me as just one more player. I ended up at a lot of other teams until I got to Malvinas, which was where I was last and we became two-time league champions.”

She fully acknowledges the physical differences she will have with other female players.

In an interview for Politica y Gestion she fully acknowledged and dealt the issue of her trans identity con la cabeza en alto: “There are lots of other players who are much stronger and faster than me and they didn’t use to be male. People talk in these terms simply because medical science split us up into male and female, but we have to consider the human capacity to adapt.” You go, girl! 

The league has to approve her contract, but things are looking up.

Villa San Carlos has officially requested an approval for Mara’s contract. As reported by CE Noticias Financieras, things are looking up for Mara and her team due to three factors that will surely influence the league’s decision: “First is the fact that the front has all the studies that prove that their testosterone levels are within the limits that set regulations to compete in the female branch of the discipline. They then rely on the implementation of the Gender Identity Law, a regulation with which Argentina pioneered the guarantee of rights and which, among other issues, establishes the obligation that trans persons be treated according to their identity self-perceived gender.

Finally, there is a case of a trans player who plays in the First B of Argentine women’s football”. If they deny Mara the right to play professionally they would certainly be involved in a PR nightmare! Fingers crossed!  However, the fact that Mara has to present a hormonal analysis in order to be approved is far from ideal.